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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Nov;42(11):1327-34.

Reported maltreatment among clinic-referred children: implications for presenting problems, treatment attrition, and long-term outcomes.

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Department of Psychology, University of California at Los Angeles, 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.



To examine the treatment implications of a reported history of maltreatment in a sample of 343 children referred to Los Angeles area mental health clinics for emotional and behavioral problems.


Child Protective Service records identified 161 of the 343 families as having a documented history of maltreatment. Parent reports of child behavior problems were obtained following clinic intake and at 2-year follow-up, and attrition was assessed via medical records. The authors examined the associations between a history of maltreatment and severity of child presenting problems, treatment attrition, and long-term mental health outcomes.


Compared to other clinic-referred children, youngsters with a history of maltreatment entered treatment with more externalizing behavior problems, were more likely to exit treatment early and without therapist consent, and continued to show greater externalizing problems 2 years later.


Maltreated children have significant mental health needs that may not be well addressed currently in community mental health clinics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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