1. Long term associations of childhood abuse and neglect were linked to poor outcomes in midadulthood across many socioeconomic indicators such as LTS (long-term sickness absence), lacking assets, and financial insecurity.
2. Multiple types of childhood maltreatment were associated with increased risk of poor adult socioeconomic indicators and risk of these outcomes increased with to varying levels depending on the type of maltreatment.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Study Rundown: Child maltreatment, which includes abuse and neglect, has many deleterious effects that can extend from childhood into adulthood. The extent of maltreatment’s effects on adult life circumstances, including economic productivity, have not been identified due to the difficulty of long-term follow-up among those who have been maltreated. This study aimed to examine the potential association between childhood abuse and negative outcomes with respect to labor market participation, living standards, and social mobility. Results of this population-based study indicated that there were long-term associations between childhood abuse/neglect and unfavorable socioeconomic outcomes in midadulthood including LTS and lacking assets. The risk of unfavorable outcomes increased with multiple types of maltreatment. An important limitation in this study was the difficulty of identifying and ascertaining childhood mistreatment. This study highlights the importance for the need for maltreatment prevention as adverse childhood events such as abuse and neglect do not only have immediate consequences, but life-lasting ones as well.
Relevant Reading: The importance of retrospective findings in child maltreatment research
In-Depth [retrospective cohort]: Data from this study was collected as part of the 1958 British birth cohort, with information obtained during childhood (7, 11, and 16 years) through adulthood (23, 33, 42, 45, and 50 years). A total of 8150 participants were included by the age of 50 years and the prevalence of reported childhood mistreatment was1% for sexual abuse, 6% for physical abuse, 10 % for psychological abuse, 11% for emotional neglect, and 16% identified as neglected. Overall, a total of 21% of the population experienced maltreatment and 10% experienced ≥2 types. Individuals who experienced any type of childhood maltreatment were at increased risk for adult LTS, lack of assets, and financial insecurity. More specifically, adults who experienced sexual abuse as a child were more likely to receive income-related support than those that were not (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.75, 95%CI 1.12–2.72). Neglect was associated with several adult outcomes, most prominently with NEET (not in employment, education, or training). Children who were neglected were more likely to be NEET as an adult (aOR 1.43, 95%CI 1.10–1.85). These risks increased with exposure to additional child maltreatment types: the aOR of LTS increased from 1.0 to 1.76 (95% CI, 1.32–2.35), and again to 2.69 (95%CI 1.96–3.68) as the number of maltreatment types went from 0 to 1, and from 1 to 2, respectively.
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