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The Rockville Institute Helps to Identify the Risk and Protective Factors of Family Violence and Suicide
(08/30/2006)

The Rockville Institute is providing analytic and statistical support to a research team led by Drs. Amy Slep and Richard Heyman at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook seeking to identify factors that protect individuals and families from partner abuse, child maltreatment, and suicidal behavior. The work, which is funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), addresses the Healthy People 2010 objectives* by focusing on a critical gap in knowledge needed for effective prevention programs.

The SUNY Stony Brook team and its Rockville Institute advisors will approach this complex problem using a large representative archival sample from 83 communities (approximately 100,000 respondents). The data set contains detailed assessments about suicide, partner and child physical assaults and their impacts, partner and child emotional assaults and their impacts, and child neglectful omissions. The team will test the effect sizes of the risk factors using correlations; the buffering effects of protective factors using correlations, and backward stepwise logistic and linear regressions; and overall models using structural equation modeling. The team will also use statistical packages that can appropriately estimate standard errors in such a complex data set.

The work aims to answer the following questions:

  • What are the risk factors at individual, family, work, and community levels?
  • What are the buffering effects of protective factors?
  • What models of risk and resilience for these problems can be created?

The Rockville Institute's Dr. Andrea Sedlak will collaborate with Stony Brook on the intricacies of analyzing complex archival data sets, as well as on the application of weights and the use of WesVar, the statistical analysis program. She will also consult with the Stony Brook researchers to ensure that the analytic categories used in the child abuse/neglect arena coordinate, as possible, with those used in the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS), which she directs. Dr. Sedlak will also review and comment on all reports.

Other Rockville Institute researchers will also provide technical advice, as needed, regarding the most appropriate methods of weighting and analyzing the complex data set.

* Healthy People 2010 is a Federal initiative that is managed by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The initiative identifies the most significant preventable threats to health and establishes national goals to reduce these threats.

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