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Developmental Impacts of Child Abuse and Neglect Related to Adult Mental Health, Substance Use, and Physical Health

Abstract

This study examined the association between officially recorded child abuse and neglect and adult mental health, substance use, and physical health outcomes. Data are from a longitudinal study of more than 30 years in which individuals were interviewed most recently in their mid—30s. Analyses consisted of group comparisons using chi-square tests for categorical variables and independent samples t-tests for continuous measures. Logistic and linear regressions controlled for gender and childhood SES, adult age, marital status, and education. Adults maltreated in childhood reported more symptoms of adult depression, anxiety, and more impairment due to mental and physical health problems. A higher percentage of those with maltreatment histories reported lifetime alcohol problems and appear at greater risk for substance abuse. Most findings of these bivariate analyses remained significant after accounting for gender and childhood socioeconomic status. Somewhat fewer significant results were observed after controlling for adult age, marital status, and education.

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Correspondence to Todd I. Herrenkohl.

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Support for this project was provided by co-funded grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Office of Behavioral Social Sciences Research (R01DA032950) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (RO1 HD049767). The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

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Herrenkohl, T.I., Hong, S., Klika, J.B. et al. Developmental Impacts of Child Abuse and Neglect Related to Adult Mental Health, Substance Use, and Physical Health. J Fam Viol 28, 191–199 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-012-9474-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-012-9474-9

Keywords

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mental health
  • Substance use
  • Physical health