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Child Abuse Negl. 2013 May;37(5):292-302. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.11.008. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Child maltreatment and adolescent mental health problems in a large birth cohort.

Author information

  • 1School of Medicine, University of Queensland, c/-Department of Paediatrics, Logan Hospital, P.O. Box 4096, Loganholme DC, Queensland 4129, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine whether notified child maltreatment is associated with adverse psychological outcomes in adolescence, and whether differing patterns of psychological outcome are seen depending on the type of maltreatment.

METHODS:

The participants were 7,223 mother and child pairs enrolled in a population-based birth cohort study in Brisbane, Australia. Exposure to suspected child maltreatment was measured by linkage with state child protection agency data. The primary outcomes were the internalizing and externalizing scales of the Youth Self Report (YSR) at approximately 14 years of age.

RESULTS:

The YSR was completed by 5,172 subjects (71.6%), with increased attrition of cases of notified maltreatment. After adjustment for potential confounders, notified maltreatment was significantly associated with both internalizing behavior and externalizing behavior at 14. When evaluated as non-exclusive categories of maltreatment, physical abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse were each significantly associated with both internalizing and externalizing behavior after adjustment. When evaluated using an expanded hierarchical scheme that included combinations of multi-type maltreatment, the following groups had significantly higher internalizing behavior after adjustment: emotional abuse (with or without neglect), and multi-type maltreatment including physical (but not sexual) abuse with neglect and/or emotional abuse. The following groups were associated with externalizing behavior after adjustment: emotional abuse (with or without neglect), and multi-type maltreatment including physical abuse (with neglect and/or emotional abuse), or sexual abuse (with neglect and/or emotional abuse, and/or physical abuse).

CONCLUSION:

This study suggests that child neglect and emotional abuse have serious adverse effects on adolescent mental health and warrant the attention given to other forms of child maltreatment. Additionally, it confirms that young people who are notified for more than one type of maltreatment are at particular risk of adolescent mental health problems.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
23380430
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3918944
Free PMC Article

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