College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Consequences of Physical Abuse and Neglect in Children

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1986

Keywords

Developmental Disabilities, Child Abuse, Social Adjustment, Risk Factors

Publication Title

Clinical Psychology Review

ISSN

0272-7358

Volume

6

Issue/No.

4

Abstract

Research interest in the effects of abuse and neglect in children is relatively recent. Clinical case reports suggested pervasive deleterious physical and psychological consequences of maltreatment. Indeed, empirical efforts confirm these initial impressions. Abused and neglected children display deficits in intellectual and academic functioning. In addition, they exhibit a variety of internalizing and externalizing disorders, such as depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, aggressiveness, and conduct problems. Despite the above findings, a number of methodological shortcomings limit conclusions drawn from the literature. These include: (a) use of heterogeneous subject samples, (b) failure to match subjects on relevant variables, and (c) use of psychometrically weak assessment devices. This review examines functioning in abused and neglected children in four areas: (1) medical, (2) cognitive and intellectual, (3) emotional adjustment and psychopathology, and (4) social development. Several recommendations for future research are offered, including the need for increased: (a) descriptive information about abused and neglected populations, and (b) use of assessment instruments which delineate specific deficits in child functioning.

DOI

10.1016/0272-7358(86)90003-6