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Strategies Clearinghouse

Safe at Home

The major indicator for this measure of success is the rate of investigated/assessed child abuse or neglect.

Abuse, neglect, and maltreatment in childhood can negatively impact cognitive, language, behavioral and psychological functioning and development. Instances of substantiated child abuse or neglect are associated with decreased aptitudes in vocabulary, reading ability, perceptual reasoning, verbal and nonverbal abilities, and language proficiency in adolescence and middle- to late- adulthood. Children who experience abuse or neglect are particularly at risk of having executive dysfunction and lower levels of nonverbal reasoning later in life.

Victims of childhood maltreatment are less likely to graduate high school, less likely to be employed by age 21, and are at a greater risk of exhibiting externalizing behaviors, internalizing behaviors, and aggression than those who did not experience abuse or neglect. Abuse and neglect are also linked to several psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

  • Strathearn et al_2020_Long-Term Cognitive, Psychological, and Health Outcomes: Systematic review of studies which analyze child maltreatment using the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), a longitudinal study which has collected prenatal data from women and their children for over 40 years. Evaluated 19 articles, including 7,214 children, which measured the effects of substantiated child abuse or neglect on over 46 types of outcomes related to cognitive, psychological, health or behavioral functioning. Outcomes were evaluated for children at both age 14 and 21 follow-up. Findings include lower vocabulary scores, reading ability, and perceptual reasoning at age 14 and 21 follow-up among children who experienced maltreatment. Children who did not experience maltreatment were also three to four times more likely to graduate high school, and were two to three times more likely to be unemployed by age 21. Child abuse and neglect was also significantly associated with internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems, as well as psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.
  • Spratt et al_2013_Effects of Early Neglect on Cognitive: Study of 60 children ages 3 to 10 from the United States. Compared children who had experienced substantiated neglect to those who had not experienced neglect across measures of cognitive, language and behavioral functioning using standardized test scores. Specific measures analyzed include attention, aggression, anxiety and depression, externalizing and internalizing behaviors, verbal and nonverbal abilities, and language proficiency. Found that children who had not experienced child neglect scored significantly higher in these areas (cognitive, language and behavior functioning) than those who had experienced neglect as a child.
  • Nikolina and Spatz Widom_2013_Child Maltreatment and Executive Functioning: Analysis of 792 cases of court-substantiated child abuse and neglect among children ages 0 through 11. Followed children into adulthood, at age 41 years old. Outcome measures were collected in middle adulthood at age 29 years old. Evaluated executive functioning and nonverbal reasoning using test scores. Results showed that child abuse and neglect was a significant predictor of poor executive functioning and nonverbal reasoning skills at age 41. Compared to children who experienced physical and sexual abuse, children who experienced maltreatment or neglect were even more likely to have long-term consequences on neuropsychological functioning by age 41.


Become a Loud Voice

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