Far too many children are badly abused in the United States today. This disturbing fact - driven home by shocking stories on nightly television broadcasts - appears also in professional literature as analysts try to understand the causes of this problem and find a remedy for it. The growing empirical evidence on child abuse reveals new, alarming, and distinct patterns of familial relationships that contribute greatly to this tragedy. The studies show that, along with a continual rise in the incidence of child abuse in the United States, there has been an increase in the number of children born out of wedlock and abandoned by their fathers, as well as an increase in the number of children affected by divorce. Now, in addition to poverty and community environment, the rising incidence of child abuse in the United States can be linked to one more factor: whether an abused child's parents are married.