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Families of Missing Children: Psychological Consequences and Promising Interventions in the United States, 1989-1991, Final Report
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Pub. Date:
The project was conducted over a 3-year period at multiple sites throughout the United States. The sample included 280 families who were followed prospectively with in-home interviews. The project identified five categories of missing children: (1) nonfamily abductions in which the child was recovered alive; (2) nonfamily abductions in which the child was recovered dead; (3) nonfamily abductions involving an infant; (4) family abductions; and (5) runaways. Project findings indicated that, among families who lost a child to nonfamily abduction, the potential for child homicide as a consequence of the abductions was extremely high. The initial level of emotional distress for families in infant abduction cases was very high, and most recovered children experienced substantial psychological and emotional distress that varied over time. Family history prior to the child's disappearance significantly influenced the family's distress and the ability to cope with that distress. Most parents of missing children retained or increased their beliefs in family-oriented value systems despite the stress of child disappearance and an increase awareness of the unpredictability of life events. Almost all families of missing children primarily relied on law enforcement personnel for information, support, and intervention following child disappearance. Sixty percent of families affected by nonfamily child abductions rated law enforcement recovery efforts as highly competent. Nearly 80 percent of families did not receive mental health or counseling services, and about the same percentage did not receive local and/or regional missing child center support services. source
NCJ 148839
United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Place of Production:
Washington, DC

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