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What Predicts the Actions Taken Toward Observed Child Neglect? The Influence of Community Context and Bystander Characteristics


  • Jasmine Fledderjohann,

    1. The Pennsylvania State University
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    • Direct correspondence to Jasmine Fledderjohann, Department of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, 211 Oswald Tower, University Park, PA 16802 <>. The authors shall share all data and coding for replication purposes. This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development (HD044144).

  • David R. Johnson

    1. The Pennsylvania State University
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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.


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


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.


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

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