The importance of timing: the varying impact of childhood and adolescent maltreatment on multiple problem outcomes

Dev Psychopathol. 2001 Fall;13(4):957-79.


A substantial body of literature suggests that childhood maltreatment is related to negative outcomes during adolescence, including delinquency, drug use, teenage pregnancy, and school failure. There has been relatively little research examining the impact that variation in the developmental stage during which the maltreatment occurs has on these relationships, however. In this paper, we reassess the impact of maltreatment on a number of adverse outcomes when developmentally specific measures of maltreatment-maltreatment that occurs only in childhood, only in adolescence, or in both childhood and adolescence-are considered. Data are drawn from the Rochester Youth Development Study, a broad-based longitudinal study of adolescent development. The analysis examines how maltreatment affects delinquency, drug use, alcohol-related problems, depressive symptoms, teen pregnancy. school dropout, and internalizing and externalizing problems during adolescence. We also examine whether the type of maltreatment experienced at various developmental stages influences the outcomes. Overall, our results suggest that adolescent and persistent maltreatment have stronger and more consistent negative consequences during adolescence than does maltreatment experienced only in childhood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology
  • Male
  • New York
  • Personality Development*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Student Dropouts / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology