Examination of Life Satisfaction, Child Maltreatment Potential and Substance Use in Mothers Referred for Treatment by Child Protective Services for Child Neglect and Substance Abuse: Implications for Intervention Planning

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There is evidence to suggest mothers who are served by child protective service agencies are relatively dissatisfied in their lives, leading some investigators to conclude life dissatisfaction may be associated with child maltreatment. To assist in better understanding this relationship the Life Satisfaction Scale for Caregivers (LSSC) was psychometrically developed in a sample of 72 mothers who were referred for behavioral treatment for child neglect and substance abuse by caseworkers from a local child protective service agency. The LSSC was developed to assess mothers’ happiness in nine domains (family, friendships, employment/work, spirituality/religion, safety, sex life/dating, ability to avoid drugs, ability to avoid alcohol, control over one’s own life). Results indicated two factors that appeared to be relevant to Social Satisfaction and Safety and Control Satisfaction. Higher satisfaction scores on both of these scales were negatively associated with child maltreatment potential and substance use at baseline (i.e., positive urinalysis test). Mothers who exposed their children to substances in utero or in infancy (a distinct type of child neglect) were found to report higher satisfaction scores on the LSSC than other types of child neglect. Hispanic-American, African-American, and Caucasian women reported similar levels of life satisfaction. Application of the LSSC as a non-stigmatizing, wellness-focused instrument is discussed within the context of intervention planning. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS).


Caregivers; Child maltreatment; Life satisfaction; Substance abuse

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