Physical and psychological maltreatment: relations among types of maltreatment

Child Abuse Negl. 1991;15(1-2):5-18. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(91)90085-r.


Maltreatment has serious consequences for the development of children. The reason for the negative outcomes is not, however, fully understood. This study investigated the hypotheses that psychological maltreatment would be present in almost all cases of physical maltreatment and that it would be more related to detrimental outcomes for children than would severity of injury. A sample of 175 maltreated children, 39 children in mental health treatment, and 176 normative children was assessed for type and severity of maltreatment. Both hypotheses were supported. In addition, evidence is provided that psychological maltreatment can occur alone, that assessments of parental psychologically maltreating behavior and negative child outcomes are highly correlated, and that child age and gender are unrelated to psychological maltreatment in young children whereas family income is related. Implications for investigation and treatment are considered.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Development*
  • Social Environment*