Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Cheryl B. McNeil.


Parental fitness evaluations remain common during child abuse investigations, as evidenced by the 19% of victims of maltreatment receiving an evaluation in 2007 in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009). A "best practice" approach to parental fitness evaluations consists of using a comprehensive assessment including clinical interviews, risk assessment measures, and behavioral observation (Budd, 2001; 2005). The Child Abuse Potential Inventory (CAP; Milner, 1986) is one risk assessment measure that is often used during evaluations. Unfortunately, abuse risk at pre- and post-treatment as measured by the CAP may be confounded by faking-good responding from the parent. Currently, there is a small amount of literature examining the characteristics of parents who fake good on the CAP, and the implications of invalid profiles at pretreatment. The present study examined differences between parents with a faking or non-faking profile on the CAP across multiple pretreatment variables including demographic information, psychopathology, and behavioral observation. Parents differed significantly on level of IQ and depression scores, but no significant differences were found on any other variable. Additionally, recidivism rates were examined for both groups of parents at posttreatment. Nine (25%) parents with an elevated Faking-good index and 16 (22.7%) parents without an elevation recidivated at posttreatment, and no significant differences were found between groups. Implications of study outcomes, and the emphasis for a multimethod approach to parental fitness evaluations will be discussed.