Determining the veracity of increasing incidents of child abuse presents a problem to clinical sociologists as well as other agency professionals, and subsequently to studies which rely on these determinations for sample selection. This paper tests the theory of interprofessional consensus underlying child abuse reports in records from a hospital population. The average agreement (interpersonal consensus) of ten different professional reports is high, estimated by correlation analysis. Factor analysis reveals two separate dimensions underlying professional reports; one factor separates the social agency determinations from the legal agencies. Despite the clustering of agencies into separate dimensions, determinants of substantiation do not differ between the agencies. Criteria of determination common to both include mother and father's characteristics such as mental illness and drug use. Thus, utilization of the theory of interprofessional consensus provides an index which can be used by researchers and clinical sociologists to improve the accurate identification of cases or of a sample for study.
Marquez, Stephanie Amedo and Gartrell, John
"An Empirical Application of Interprofessional Consensus,"
Clinical Sociology Review:
1, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/csr/vol11/iss1/5