Childhood abuse and neglect and cognitive flexibility in adolescents. Child Neuropsychology, 18(2), 182-189

Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
Child Neuropsychology (Impact Factor: 2.42). 09/2011; 18(2):182-9. DOI: 10.1080/09297049.2011.595400
Source: PubMed


Childhood maltreatment (CM) has been associated with diminished executive functioning in children and adults; however, there is a relative paucity of study of executive function in adolescents exposed to CM. Yet, executive dysfunction in adolescence may have important adverse consequences including increased vulnerability to risky behaviors and impaired school functioning. This study investigates the relationship between self-reported CM and an executive function, cognitive flexibility, in adolescents without identified psychiatric disorders. Effects of physical and emotional, abuse and neglect, maltreatment subtypes were explored. Thirty adolescents ages 12-17 years, 50% females, completed the retrospective self-report Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and were administered the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Correlational analyses assessed the relationship between WCST perseverative error scores norm-referenced for age and education with CTQ total scores. The relationship with nonperseverative errors, as well as with physical and emotional abuse and neglect CM subscores, were explored. Total CTQ scores showed significant associations with perseverative errors on the WCST, but not with nonperseverative errors. Significant associations with perseverative errors were seen for physical abuse and physical neglect among the CTQ subscales. The results suggest both physical abuse and physical neglect are associated with diminished cognitive flexibility in adolescents. These effects were detected in adolescents without identified psychiatric diagnoses suggesting the importance of considering executive dysfunction in adolescents exposed to CM who may not meet diagnostic criteria for an Axis I disorder and that tests of perseverative errors, such as those of the WCST, may be sensitive indicators of this dysfunction.

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Available from: Rajita Sinha, Oct 16, 2014
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    • "Thus, we will investigate whether early childhood and early adolescent maltreatment predict depression and anxiety symptoms more than mid-childhood maltreatment. Numerous studies demonstrated that child maltreatment is predictive of depression and anxiety symptoms (e.g., Collishaw et al., 2007; Hamilton et al., 2013; McGloin & Widom, 2001; Scott et al., 2010; Spinhoven et al., 2010) and impairments in cognitive functioning measured later in life (e.g., Gould et al., 2012; Hart & Rubia, 2012; Jaffee & Maikovich-Fong, 2011; Mills et al., 2011; Navalta, Polcari, Webster, Boghossian, & Teicher, 2006; Spann et al., 2012). There is also evidence from longitudinal studies that higher IQ was predictive of fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety (Kitano & Lewis, 2005; Koenen et al., 2009; Weeks et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research indicates that childhood maltreatment is strongly associated with high levels of adolescent depression and anxiety symptoms. Using LONGSCAN data and taking into account the range of family characteristics related to adversity (poverty, primary caregiver substance abuse) and protective factors (living with biological mother and father), the present study assessed the complex resilience process in which child intelligence (age 6) mediated the relationship between early childhood maltreatment (age 0-4) and adolescent symptoms of depression and anxiety (age 14). We also assessed if mid (age 6-8) and late (age 10-12) childhood maltreatment moderated this mediation. We found that mid-childhood intelligence mediated the negative effect of early childhood maltreatment (age 0-4) on anxiety symptoms (age 14), but not on depressive symptoms (age 14). We also found the effect of timing of maltreatment: early childhood maltreatment (age 0-4) predicted more anxiety symptoms in adolescence, whereas late childhood/early adolescent (age 10-12) maltreatment predicted more symptoms of depression in adolescence. In addition, mid (age 6-8) and late (age 10-12) childhood maltreatment dampened the protective effect of IQ (age 6) against anxiety (age 14). In sum, current evidence shows that low anxiety and depression symptoms in adolescence following childhood maltreatment was achieved through different pathways, and that early and late childhood/early adolescence were more sensitive periods for development of psychopathology related to depression and anxiety in adolescence. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Child abuse & neglect
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    • "Cognitive flexibility is related to the activation of brain structures such as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and cingulate cortex [17], areas that are reported to be affected in CSA. Although there were no previous studies of cognitive flexibility in CSA adolescents, in their work on adolescents without psychiatric disorders, Spann et al. [18] found a significant association between physical abuse and physical neglect scores, and perseverative errors on the Wisconsin Card-Sorting Test (WCST). This test assesses several cognitive functions related to the prefrontal cortex, such as flexibility and categorization [19]-[21]. "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science
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    • "Youth with a history of child maltreatment are at particularly high risk for developmental perturbation. Childhood maltreatment has been shown to have deleterious effects on adolescent socio-emotional development (Cicchetti and Valentino, 2006), including poor cognitive flexibility (Spann et al., 2012), fewer emotion regulation skills (Romens and Pollak, 2012), less prosocial behavior, and more aggressive behavior (Alink et al., 2012). Indeed, individuals with histories of child maltreatment report less supportive interpersonal relationships in both adolescence (Johnson et al., 2002; Seeds et al., 2010) and adulthood (Lamoureux et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined parental relationship quality, friendship quality, and depression as mediators of the association between child maltreatment (CM) and adolescent suicidal ideation (SI). Participants were 674 adolescents (46% female; 55% African American) involved in the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). Data were collected via youth self-report at ages 12, 16, and 18. CM before age 12 predicted poor parental relationships and depression, but not poor friendships, at age 16. Age 16 depression was negatively associated with parental relationship quality and positively associated with SI at age 18. An indirect path from CM to SI via depression was significant, suggesting that the early CM affects depression severity, which in turn is associated with SI. Strong friendship quality (age 16) was associated with SI at age 18; however, there was no significant indirect path from CM to SI via friendships. Results suggest that: 1) CM before age 12 affects parental relationships in adolescence; 2) depression and friendships are related to suicide ideation in later adolescence; and 3) depression partially mediates the association between CM and SI. Results highlight the importance of assessing for a history of CM, quality of interpersonal relationships, and depression severity among youth reporting SI.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Psychiatry Research
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