Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type




First Advisor

Cheryl B. McNeil

Second Advisor

Daniel W. McNeil

Third Advisor

Lindsay R. Druskin


Child abuse is a concerning issue, as 3.5 million children in the United States were referred for suspected maltreatment to Child Protective Services (CPS) in 2016, and millions more impacted worldwide (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). Additionally, it is estimated that roughly 2.5 million Australian adults have experienced child maltreatment (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017). Hence, it is crucial to assess for child abuse potential using measures that are effective in clinical utility. The Brief Child Abuse Potential Inventory (BCAP; Ondersma et al., 2005) is a self-report questionnaire that assesses for child abuse potential and utilizes a Lie Scale that detects patterns of socially desirable responding. Profiles with an elevated Lie Scale score are invalidated and removed from research, resulting in a lack of studies examining validity indices and their relation to child abuse potential. Participants in the study were 84 parent-toddler dyads referred for child behavioral difficulties to a research-focused mental health clinic nearby Sydney, Australia to complete assessments measuring child abuse potential, parenting stress, and parent emotion regulation difficulties before beginning treatment. Independent samples t-tests were conducted to examine differences between mothers with valid and invalid BCAP profiles on child abuse potential, parenting stress, emotion dysregulation and demographics. Child abuse potential, parenting stress, and emotion dysregulation were all significantly higher for mothers with invalid profiles on the BCAP when compared to mothers with valid profiles. These findings are valuable, as including invalid responses in future research utilizing the BCAP may serve to identify a subset of parents with an increased child abuse risk.

Included in

Psychology Commons