Maltreatment's wake: The relationship of maltreatment dimensions to child outcomes

Diana J. English, Mukund P. Upadhyaya, Alan J. Litrownik, Jane M. Marshall, Desmond K. Runyan, J. Christopher Graham, Howard Dubowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this exploratory study was to examine the extent to which, in combination, the best constructions of basic dimensions of maltreatment, identified in other papers from LONGSCAN, predict child outcomes. Method: Maltreatment records of a sample of 203 children were used to define dimensions of maltreatment related to Type, Severity, Chronicity, and Age at First Report. The definitions were based upon findings presented in other papers in this special issue. Children's behavioral and emotional functioning was examined at age 8 using standardized measures of problem behaviors, socialization and adaptation, and trauma symptomatology. Backward elimination regression was used to screen for interactions among the dimensions; regression models including dimensions and significant interactions were then run for each child outcome. Stratified partial correlations were utilized to explicate significant interactions. Results: Individual maltreatment dimensions were found to have distinct effects on child functioning. Additionally, dimensions of maltreatment were interrelated and interacted in determining outcomes. Type of maltreatment (as indicated by the maximum severity rating of each type) was the most consistent predictor across outcomes, albeit different types predicted different outcomes. Various dimensional interactions were significant predictors of different outcomes. Conclusion: The results suggest that a comprehensive assessment of a child's maltreatment experience, including type and severity, when the maltreatment began and the pattern of maltreatment across the life span, is important to understanding the effects of maltreatment on children's growth and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-619
Number of pages23
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - May 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants to the Consortium of Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) from the Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Administration for Children, Youth and Families and the National Institutes of Health, Institute for Child Health and Development.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Age at First Report
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Child functioning
  • Chronicity
  • Maltreatment dimensions
  • Severity


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