Neuropsychological Profile of Children, Adolescents and Adults Experiencing Maltreatment: A Meta-analysis

Clin Neuropsychol. 2015;29(5):573-94. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2015.1061057. Epub 2015 Jun 26.


Objective: Few studies have attempted to describe the range of cognitive impairments affecting people who have experienced child maltreatment. The aim of this meta-analysis was to examine the neuropsychological profile of these people and to determine the cognitive impacts of maltreatment from childhood to adulthood.

Method: Fifty-two publications from 1970 to 2013 were included.

Results: The affected cognitive domains were working memory (g = -.65), attention (g = -.63), intelligence (g = -.56) and speed of processing (g = -.49). The impact of maltreatment was greater in young children (g = -.71) and less pronounced in adults (g = -.26).

Conclusions: These results suggest that exposure to maltreatment has an impact on specific cognitive processes, regardless of age.

Keywords: Keywords; Maltreatment; Meta-analysis.; Neuropsychology.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards*
  • Physical Abuse / psychology*
  • Young Adult