Child Maltreatment and Psychiatric Outcomes in Early Adulthood

Siobhan Murphy*, Eoin McElroy, Ask Elklit, Mark Shevlin, Mogens Christoffersen

*Kontaktforfatter for dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This study aimed to examine the effects of different types of maltreatment on psychiatric outcomes. The second aim was to examine patterns of comorbidity among different types of child maltreatment. Participants were randomly selected from the total birth cohort of all children born in Denmark in 1984. Data were then linked to information drawn from the Danish health and social registries. Four distinct subgroups of child maltreatment were used: no abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; and co-occurring abuse. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that all types of maltreatment were associated with psychiatric outcomes independent of other forms of adversity and parental history of psychiatric conditions. The strength of these associations was consistent for some, but not all conditions. Findings are consistent with emerging transdiagnostic models of psychopathology, which demonstrate that the risk for psychopathology appears to operate at the broad dimension level, rather than the level of specific diagnoses. Key Practitioner Messages: This study found that maltreatment in childhood was associated with a number of psychiatric conditions and high levels of comorbidity independent of other forms of adversity and parental history of psychiatric conditions. Findings point to the importance of early intervention for maltreated children using an individual and developmentally appropriate approach that may offset the risk trajectory for co-occurring psychiatric conditions. Interventions targeting difficulties in attachment, emotional regulation and promoting adaptive coping strategies have been useful in treating a range of conditions.

TidsskriftChild Abuse Review
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)365-378
StatusUdgivet - 1. jul. 2020

Bibliografisk note

Early view. First published: 21 September 2020.

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