Date of Award

12-4-2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geosciences

First Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Crampton - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Diem

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Eriksen

Fourth Advisor

Ms. Elaine Hallisey

Abstract

Identifying high-risk areas for child maltreatment to ultimately aid public health agencies for interventions is necessary for protecting children at high risk. Rates of substantiated neglect and physical/emotional abuse in 2000-2002 are computed for the census tracts in the urban area of five counties in Metro Atlanta, Georgia, and analyzed using spatial regression to determine their relationships with twelve risk variables computed from the Vital Records births and the 2000 Census data. After accounting for multicollinearity among risk variables and spatial autocorrelation among observations for neighboring locations, it is found that high percentages of (1) births to non-married mothers, (2) births to mothers who smoked or drank alcohol during pregnancy, (3) unemployed males and females, and (4) single-parent families with children under age six best predict the rates of substantiated neglect, and that high percentage of births to mothers who smoked or drank alcohol during pregnancy best predicts the rates of substantiated physical/emotional abuse.

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