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Objective

Using data from a sample of 3,679 respondents in 50 rural and urban communities in a midwestern state, the authors explore the relationship between individual and community characteristics and the provision of helping behavior when child neglect is observed.

Method

Telephone surveys of community residents were analyzed in a series of logistic regression models.

Results

At the individual level, age, gender, place of residence, and sentinel status were all found to have a significant effect. The level of role overlap, cohesion, comfort, and belongingness perceived to exist in the community were found to be important community-level predictors.

Conclusion

Individual and contextual characteristics affected observation of a case of child neglect and the action taken.