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Child Abuse Negl. 2019 Jan;87:112-119. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.06.005. Epub 2018 Jun 8.

The effect of substantiated and unsubstantiated investigations of child maltreatment and subsequent adolescent health.

Author information

1
The Methodology Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States; Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States.
2
The Methodology Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States.
3
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States.
4
Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, United States.
5
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, United States. Electronic address: jgn3@psu.edu.

Abstract

Children with substantiated child maltreatment (CM) experience adverse health outcomes. However, it is unclear whether substantiation vs. an investigation not resulting in substantiation has a greater impact on subsequent adolescent health. Propensity scores were used to examine the effect of investigated reports on the subsequent health of 503 adolescent females. CM was categorized into three levels: 1) investigated and substantiated, 2) investigated but unsubstantiated, and 3) no investigation. Models using inverse propensity score weights estimated the effect of an investigation on subsequent teen motherhood, HIV-risk behaviors, drug use, and depressive symptoms. Females with any investigation, regardless of substantiation status, were more likely to become teen mothers, engage in HIV-risk behaviors, and use drugs compared to females with no investigated report. Substantiated CM was associated with depressive symptoms. Findings underscore the importance of maintaining case records, regardless of substantiation, to better serve adolescents at risk for deleterious outcomes. Prospective methods and propensity scores bolster causal inference and highlight how interventions implemented following investigation are an important prevention opportunity.

KEYWORDS:

Adverse health outcomes; Propensity score; Substantiation status

PMID:
29891176
PMCID:
PMC6286700
[Available on 2020-01-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.06.005

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