Comparing Early Adult Outcomes of Maltreated and Non-Maltreated Children: A Prospective Longitudinal Investigation

Mersky, J.P., Topitzes, J. (2010). Comparing early adult outcomes of maltreated and non-maltreated children: A prospective longitudinal investigation. Children and Youth Services Review.

Using prospective data from the Chicago Longitudinal Study, this investigation examined associations between child maltreatment and an array of outcomes in early adulthood.

Findings from bivariate and multivariate analyses indicated that verified maltreatment victims fared significantly worse than participants without an indicated maltreatment report on indicators of educational and economic attainment, criminal offending, and behavioral and mental health. Results also revealed that, while many maltreated children appeared to function well on individual outcomes, a large majority did not achieve criteria for resilience when development was assessed across domains. For example, non-maltreated participants were more than twice as likely to attain five or more positive outcomes (38.2%) on an aggregate seven-item index as the maltreated group (15.7%).

These findings suggest that child maltreatment is associated with extensive and enduring impacts, reinforcing the need to develop and implement effective maltreatment prevention and intervention strategies.

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