A 12-Year Prospective Study of the Long-term Effects of Early Child Physical Maltreatment on Psychological, Behavioral, and Academic Problems in Adolescence

Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0545, USA.
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.73). 09/2002; 156(8):824-30. DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.156.8.824
Source: PubMed


To determine whether child physical maltreatment early in life has long-term effects on psychological, behavioral, and academic problems independent of other characteristics associated with maltreatment.
Prospective longitudinal study with data collected annually from 1987 through 1999.
Randomly selected, community-based samples of 585 children from the ongoing Child Development Project were recruited the summer before children entered kindergarten in 3 geographic sites. Seventy-nine percent continued to participate in grade 11. The initial in-home interviews revealed that 69 children (11.8%) had experienced physical maltreatment prior to kindergarten matriculation.
Adolescent assessment of school grades, standardized test scores, absences, suspensions, aggression, anxiety/depression, other psychological problems, drug use, trouble with police, pregnancy, running away, gang membership, and educational aspirations.
Adolescents maltreated early in life were absent from school more than 1.5 as many days, were less likely to anticipate attending college compared with nonmaltreated adolescents, and had levels of aggression, anxiety/depression, dissociation, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, social problems, thought problems, and social withdrawal that were on average more than three quarters of an SD higher than those of their nonmaltreated counterparts. The findings held after controlling for family and child characteristics correlated with maltreatment.
Early physical maltreatment predicts adolescent psychological and behavioral problems, beyond the effects of other factors associated with maltreatment. Undetected early physical maltreatment in community populations represents a major problem worthy of prevention.

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Available from: Joseph C Crozier, Jan 11, 2015
    • "Similarly, maltreated children evidence a compromised ability to manage emotions, identify appropriate feelings, or describe interpersonal causes of emotion (Barahal et al. 1981; Shipman et al. 2003, 2005). While emotion regulation difficulties are related to multiple psychological problems, survivors of trauma evidence generalized emotion regulation difficulties independent of psychological disorders (Kim and Cicchetti 2010; Lansford et al. 2002). Chronic exposure to trauma results in a significant resource loss, namely effective emotion regulation, which is critical to the prevention of maladaptive behavior and the promotion of adaptive behavior (Cicchetti et al. 1995; Eisenberg et al. 2001; Kim and Cicchetti 2010). "

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    • "As youths' bonding decreased, their risk of problematic substance use increased. Adolescents who have experienced maltreatment as young children are more likely to have school absences than their peers who have not experienced maltreatment (Lansford et al. 2002), and may be less likely to be engaged in school (Bender 2012). Traube et al. (2012) found that child-welfare-involved youth who were less engaged in school were at greater risk of substance use. "
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    • "Community-connected risk factors are neighbourhood violence and crime, lack of social support and social or cultural discrimination. A number of longitudinal studies, such as those by Cicchetti and Manly (2001) and Lansford et al. (2002), have shown that children who suffer neglect are at risk of school failure, anxiety, depression, aggression and delinquency during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. D e s p i t e t h e i r d i s a d v a n t a g e d backgrounds, coupled with various risk factors, some students demonstrate academic resilience and enjoy satisfactory or even excellent academic achievements (Borman & Overman, 2004; Martin & Marsh, 2006). "
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