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Child Abuse Negl. 1987;11(1):15-27.

Developmental effects of child abuse: recent findings.


This paper summarizes the pre-1982 research findings on the developmental effects of child abuse and reviews recent contributions to this area. While some of the recent research continues to demonstrate deleterious developmental consequences of child maltreatment, others are pointing to a complex relationship between child maltreatment and development. Mediating variables such as the child's individual characteristics, environmental resources, and the quality of personal interactions the child is exposed to may interact with negative experiences like maltreatment and may be just as important in predicting outcome than maltreatment alone. Recent research has also been concerned with specifying the possible differential effects of different patterns of maltreatment. This has led to a clearer separation between the effects of abuse and neglect, particularly in language development. Despite the methodological improvements in recent research, there is still the need for longitudinal prospective studies on the developmental effects of child abuse, taking into account possible mediating variables.

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