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Child abuse has long been the subject of sociological studies. Essentially, sociologists try to uncover what social factors seem to make child abuse more likely. One early example is a study by David Gil in the 1960s that demonstrated that over half of the families where abuse occurred had been on welfare during the previous year. This study, conducted in the 1960s, demonstrated that poverty was a strong predictor for child abuse. This trend has continued until today, but it is only one example of the ways in which sociology can help to illuminate the conditions that can lead to child abuse. Other predictors (many of which are also linked to poverty) include alcohol and drug use, level of education, criminal record, and, perhaps most obvious, whether or not a parent was a victim of child abuse themselves.
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