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      Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect on Adult Economic Well-Being

      1 , 2
      Child Maltreatment
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          Child abuse and neglect represent major threats to child health and well-being; however, little is known about consequences for adult economic outcomes. Using a prospective cohort design, court substantiated cases of childhood physical and sexual abuse and neglect during 1967—1971 were matched with nonabused and nonneglected children and followed into adulthood (mean age 41). Outcome measures of economic status and productivity were assessed in 2003—2004 (N = 807). Results indicate that adults with documented histories of childhood abuse and/or neglect have lower levels of education, employment, earnings, and fewer assets as adults, compared to matched control children. There is a 14% gap between individuals with histories of abuse/neglect and controls in the probability of employment in middle age, controlling for background characteristics. Maltreatment appears to affect men and women differently, with larger effects for women than men. These new findings demonstrate that abused and neglected children experience large and enduring economic consequences.

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          Most cited references37

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          Burden and consequences of child maltreatment in high-income countries.

          Child maltreatment remains a major public-health and social-welfare problem in high-income countries. Every year, about 4-16% of children are physically abused and one in ten is neglected or psychologically abused. During childhood, between 5% and 10% of girls and up to 5% of boys are exposed to penetrative sexual abuse, and up to three times this number are exposed to any type of sexual abuse. However, official rates for substantiated child maltreatment indicate less than a tenth of this burden. Exposure to multiple types and repeated episodes of maltreatment is associated with increased risks of severe maltreatment and psychological consequences. Child maltreatment substantially contributes to child mortality and morbidity and has longlasting effects on mental health, drug and alcohol misuse (especially in girls), risky sexual behaviour, obesity, and criminal behaviour, which persist into adulthood. Neglect is at least as damaging as physical or sexual abuse in the long term but has received the least scientific and public attention. The high burden and serious and long-term consequences of child maltreatment warrant increased investment in preventive and therapeutic strategies from early childhood.
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            The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance.

            We quantify the lasting effects of childhood health and economic circumstances on adult health, employment and socioeconomic status, using data from a birth cohort that has been followed from birth into middle age. Controlling for parental income, education and social class, children who experience poor health have significantly lower educational attainment, poorer health, and lower social status as adults. Childhood health and circumstance appear to operate both through their impact on initial adult health and economic status, and through a continuing direct effect of prenatal and childhood health in middle age. Overall, our findings suggest more attention be paid to health as a potential mechanism through which intergenerational transmission of economic status takes place: cohort members born into poorer families experienced poorer childhood health, lower investments in human capital and poorer health in early adulthood, all of which are associated with lower earnings in middle age-the years in which they themselves become parents.
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              Does violence beget violence? A critical examination of the literature.

              Critically examines the "violence breeds violence" hypothesis broadly defined. Organized into seven sections, the literature review includes (a) the abuse breeds abuse hypothesis; (b) reports of small numbers of violent/homicidal offenders; (c) studies examining the relationship of abuse and neglect to delinquency, (d) to violent behavior, and (e) to aggressive behavior in infants and young children; (f) abuse, withdrawal, and self-destructive behavior; and (g) studies of the impact of witnessing or observing violent behavior. A detailed discussion of methodological considerations and shortcomings precedes the review. The author concludes that existing knowledge of the long-term consequences of abusive home environments is limited and suggests that conclusions about the strength of the cycle of violence be tempered by the dearth of convincing empirical evidence. Recommendations are made for further research.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Child Maltreatment
                Child Maltreat
                SAGE Publications
                1077-5595
                1552-6119
                May 2010
                April 20 2010
                May 2010
                : 15
                : 2
                : 111-120
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Economics, Columbia University,
                [2 ]Psychology Department, John Jay College, City University of New York
                Article
                10.1177/1077559509355316
                3571659
                20425881
                11ef8084-3268-472a-a7d3-c513a3ac61ad
                © 2010

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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