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      The Effects of Maltreatment in Childhood on Working Memory Capacity in Adulthood

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          Abstract

          The aim of this study was to research the relation between exposure to maltreatment in childhood and working memory capacity in adulthood. A survey among 376 females in the age between 16 and 67 was administered. Exposure to maltreatment in childhood (sexual, physical and psychological abuse, neglect and witnessing family violence) was assessed retrospectively using the Child Maltreatment Questionnaire (Karlović, Buljan-Flander, & Vranić, 2001), whilst the Working Memory Questionnaire (Vallat-Azouvi, Pradat-Diehl, & Azouvi, 2012) was used to assess working memory capacity (recalling verbal information, numerical information, attention ability and executive functioning). The results suggest a significantly greater prevalence of physical abuse and witnessing family violence in comparison to other forms of maltreatment in childhood. Psychological abuse and witnessing family violence have shown themselves to be statistically significant predictors for deficits in total working memory capacity, verbal recall and attention ability. The results suggest that traumatic experiences during childhood, such as abuse, may trigger particular cognitive changes which may be reflected in adulthood. It is, therefore, exceedingly important to conduct further research in order to contribute to the understanding of the correlation between cognitive difficulties and maltreatment in childhood.

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          Most cited references34

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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 Prevalence of Child Maltreatment across the Globe: Review of a Series of Meta-Analyses

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              Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                EJOP
                Eur J Psychol
                Europe's Journal of Psychology
                Eur. J. Psychol.
                PsychOpen
                1841-0413
                30 November 2017
                : 13
                : 4
                : 618-632
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Psychology, University of Zadar , Zadar, Croatia
                [b ]Department of Psychology, University of Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
                [c ]Centre of Mental Health, Široki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina
                [d ]Department of Psychology, University of Zadar , Zadar, Croatia
                [5]Department of Psychology, Webster University Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
                [6]University of South Wales, Newport, United Kingdom
                Author notes
                [* ]University of Zadar, Obala kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 23000 Zadar, Croatia. artadodaj@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                ejop.v13i4.1373
                10.5964/ejop.v13i4.1373
                5763453
                f05df359-46a3-4a99-882b-c699e4cfbb48
                Copyright @ 2017

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 09 January 2017
                : 16 March 2017
                Categories
                Research Reports

                Psychology
                working memory,cognitive functioning,executive functions,maltreatment in childhood,trauma

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