Abused children appear likely to have mental disorders as young adults

July 05, 2010

Abuse and neglect during childhood appear to be associated with increased rates of mood, anxiety and substance use disorders among young adults, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Most studies of child maltreatment and later mental health outcomes have relied on reports of past abuse, according to background information in the article. Doubts have been raised about the reliability and validity of these reports, given that past maltreatment is often unreported, memories can be reconstructed and the reports can be unstable over time.

Kate M. Scott, Ph.D., M.A. Appl.(Clin Psych), and colleagues at University of Otago-Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, linked national child protection agency records with data from a nationally representative community survey of mental disorders among young adults age 16 to 27. The survey included 2,144 young adults, 221 of whom had a history of child maltreatment as indicated by child protection agency records.

After adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic factors, a history of abuse or neglect was associated with having any mental disorder and with five individual mental disorders--including anxiety, mood and substance abuse conditions--both over a lifetime and in the previous year. The strongest associations were with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

When asked in young adulthood, 15 percent of the participants in the group without a child protection agency record reported maltreatment. "After excluding these individuals from the comparison group, the magnitude of associations increased, with child protection agency history conferring a 10-fold higher odds of 12-month PTSD, together with elevated odds of other anxiety disorders, mood disorders and drug use disorders," the authors write.

The findings suggest that maltreatment, not just the memory of maltreatment, is associated with mental health disorders in young adulthood. "This implies, first, that targeted mental health interventions with present or past clients of child welfare agencies are indicated in addition to the interventions currently provided to stop or reduce the maltreatment; and second, that concerted population-level strategies are required to address the needs of the many other children who also experience maltreatment."
-end-
(Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67[7]:712-719. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org.)

Editor's Note: Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey was funded by the Ministry of Health, the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand and the Health Research Council of New Zealand. Part of the analysis for this article was supported by Otago University research funding. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Mental Disorders Articles from Brightsurf:

Mental health disorders among university students confined during COVID-19
University students in France who experienced quarantine during COVID-19 were surveyed to assess how common were mental health issues and to identify factors associated with these disorders.

Care for veterans with substance use and mental health disorders needs improvement
While the availability of services for veterans has expanded in recent years, many post-9/11 veterans do not receive appropriate care for their co-occurring substance use and mental health problems, according to a new study.

Infant sleep problems can signal mental disorders in adolescents -- Study
Specific sleep problems among babies and very young children can be linked to mental disorders in adolescents, a new study has found.

Mental disorders in the family affects the treatment of people with bipolar disorder
Patients with bipolar disorder who have multiple family members with severe mental disorders, are more difficult to treat and require more medicine.

Researchers call for new approach to some mental disorders
Depression, anxiety and PTSD might not be disorders at all, according to a recent paper by Washington State University biological anthropologists.

Mapping health risks for people with mental disorders
Researchers now have the ability to map the risks of general medical conditions such as heart and lung diseases, diabetes and cancer for people with mental disorders.

Spinal cord injury increases risk for mental health disorders
A new study finds adults with traumatic spinal cord injury are at an increased risk of developing mental health disorders and secondary chronic diseases compared to adults without the condition.

Maternal hypertensive disorders may lead to mental health disorders in children
Hypertensive pregnancy disorders, especially preeclampsia -- may increase the risk of psychological development disorders and behavioral and emotional disorders in children.

Critically injured soldiers have high rates of mental health disorders
U.S. combat soldiers who suffered a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more likely than soldiers with other serious injuries to experience a range of mental health disorders, according to a new retrospective study by University of Massachusetts Amherst health services researchers.

Brain imaging may improve diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders
Brain imaging may one day be used to help diagnose mental health disorders--including depression and anxiety--with greater accuracy, according to a new study conducted in a large sample of youth at the University of Pennsylvania and led by Antonia Kaczkurkin, PhD and Theodore Satterthwaite, MD.

Read More: Mental Disorders News and Mental Disorders Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.