The study revealed a 65-percent increase in abuse, from nine cases per 100,000 children in prerecession years, to almost 15 per 100,000 kids during the recession.
The results are in a study of 422 abused children from mostly lower-income families, known to face greater risks for being abused, and the research involved just 74 counties in four states.
The children studied were younger than 5. Most suffered brain damage and 69 died.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.