• Article

Child maltreatment and substance abuse among U.S. Army soldiers

Although substance abuse has consistently been linked to child maltreatment, no study to date has described the extent of substance abuse among child maltreatment offenders within the military. Analysis of U.S. Army data on all substantiated incidents of parental child maltreatment committed between 2000 and 2004 by active duty soldiers found that 13% of offenders were noted to have been abusing alcohol or illicit drugs at the time of their child maltreatment incident. The odds of substance abuse were increased for offenders who committed child neglect or emotional abuse, but were reduced for child physical abuse. The odds of offender substance abuse nearly tripled in child maltreatment incidents that also involved co-occurring spouse abuse. Findings include a lack of association between offender substance abuse and child maltreatment recurrence, possibly because of the increased likelihood of removal of offenders from the home when either substance abuse or spouse abuse were documented


Gibbs, D., Martin, SL., Johnson, R., Rentz, ED., Clinton-Sherrod, A., & Hardison, J. (2008). Child maltreatment and substance abuse among U.S. Army soldiers. Child Maltreatment, 13(3), 259-268.