Infant abuse and neglect in monkeys--a discussion of definitions, epidemiology, etiology, and implications for child maltreatment: reply to Cicchetti (1998) and Mason (1998)
In response to D. Cicchetti's (1998) and W. A. Mason's (1998) commentaries, this article scrutinizes infant maltreatment in monkeys and its public health implications. Studies of infant abuse and neglect in monkeys have used operational definitions based on (a) adult behavior or (b) adult behavior and infant outcome (depending on data available for analysis). Direct comparisons between the incidence of maltreatment in monkey and human populations can be only tentative as a result of differences in operational definitions of maltreatment. A simplified version of the ecological-transactional model of maltreatment can be used in research with nonhuman primates, and different species can be used to model different aspects of the human phenomenon. Although abuse and neglect take different forms in animals and humans, research with animal models can make an important contribution to elucidating the adaptive function, if any, of child maltreatment and the proximate mechanisms underlying its occurrence.