To explore whether social capital and social support moderate the relationship between child maltreatment and emotional and behavioral outcomes such as depression-anxiety and aggression in 6-year-old children.
Data from Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect were used. Data were collected through interviews and questionnaires at the child's birth and at the age of 6 years.
Two hundred fifteen maternal caregivers of children at high risk for child abuse and neglect were included in this study.
Main Outcome Measures
Depression-anxiety and aggression were measured through the Child Behavior Checklist.
Among 5 potential effect modifiers (3 social capital constructs and 2 measures of social support), only 1 (instrumental support) significantly modified the relationship between maltreatment and child aggression.
Social capital did not modify the relationship between child maltreatment and either aggression or depression-anxiety. This might be related to the fact that many previous studies looked at social capital ecologically, whereas this study uses individuals as the unit of analysis. The results of this study might also indicate that previous studies of social capital and health outcomes might actually be using social capital as a proxy for social support.