Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

June Tuma


The present study addressed an important void in the literature of child abuse prevention. The challenge in empirical development of preventive education in child abuse to the public lies in the identification of specific target behaviors which are (1) related to potential child abuse, and (2) amenable to education. This investigation examined individual's expectations, attitudes and beliefs toward childrearing, as well as individual's knowledge of childrearing and behavioral child management techniques. Data generated in this study also evaluated the presence of differential judgments of child abuse in a community sample. Two hundred and eighty-two community volunteers participated in this study. Subjects were recruited from the East Baton Rouge Parish community. Participants were administered a packet of assessment devices that included: the Child Abuse Potential Inventory, the Parental Expectations, Attitudes and Belief Inventory, the Knowledge of Behavioral Principles Inventory, the Child Abuse Sensitivity Questionnaire and a demographic data form. Results indicated significant differences between the high and low median split groups as to their level of knowledge of behavioral principles as applied to child management techniques. The data demonstrated that there was not a significant difference between the two median split groups with regard to their judgments as to what constitutes psychological and physical child abuse. Finally, results showed that high scorers on the Child Abuse Potential Inventory did not exhibit more deviant attitudes, expectations and beliefs toward parenting than did low scorers on the Child Abuse Potential Inventory. These results suggest that potentially abusive individuals possess a degree of awareness and judgment as to what constitutes psychological and physical child abuse, their weakness appears to lie in their knowledge base of parenting techniques and child management techniques. These findings have important implications for preventative educational training programs, as well as for parent training programs for the community at large.