Date of Graduation

Fall 2012


Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice


Criminology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Patti Ross Salinas


Much has been written on the relationship between drug and alcohol use and child abuse, but the possible relationship between meth production and child abuse has remained unexplored. This thesis examines the relationship between methamphetamine (meth) incident rates (including laboratories, chemical/equipment/glassware seizure, and dumpsites) and child abuse rates in Missouri at the county level. Data from the 2010 U.S. Census, the Missouri Department of Social Services, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol were compiled to examine the variables meth incidents, child abuse, age, education, poverty, race, and residential mobility. Principles of Social Disorganization Theory are applied to identify the social characteristics that may influence meth production and child abuse. Regression analysis was employed to determine the relationship, if any, that exists between the independent and control variables (meth, race, age, education, poverty, and residential mobility) and the dependent variable child abuse. The results indicate that education and social mobility are significantly related to child abuse, while meth incidents, age, poverty, and race are not. The final chapter of this thesis explores possible reasons for the results, policy implications, and suggestions for future research.


methamphetamine, child abuse, social disorganization, Missouri, county

Subject Categories

Criminology and Criminal Justice


© Brittney McClure

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