Childhood Abuse and Neglect, Exposure to Domestic Violence and Sibling Violence: Profiles and Associations With Sociodemographic Variables and Mental Health Indicators

J Interpers Violence. 2023 Jan;38(1-2):NP1141-NP1162. doi: 10.1177/08862605221090562. Epub 2022 Apr 21.


Research indicates substantial overlap between child abuse and neglect (CAN), exposure to domestic violence and sibling abuse, with multiple victimisation experiences conferring greater risk for adverse mental health outcomes than does exposure to a single subtype. The application of latent class analysis (LCA) to child maltreatment has gained momentum, but it remains the case that few studies have incorporated a comprehensive range of subtypes, meaning that real-life patterns in victimisation experiences cannot be accurately modelled. Based on self-report data from an ethnically diverse sample (N = 2813) of 10-17 year olds in the United Kingdom, the current study used LCA to model constellations among nine types of maltreatment in the home (physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; exposure to physical and verbal domestic violence, or a drug-related threat; and sibling violence). A four-class solution comprising of a low victimisation class (59.3% of participants), an emotional abuse and neglect class (19.0%), a high verbal domestic violence class (10.5%) and a maltreatment and domestic violence class (11.2%) provided the best fit for the data. Associations with sociodemographic variables were examined, revealing differences in the composition of the classes. Compared to the low victimisation class, participants in the verbal domestic violence class, emotional abuse and neglect class and especially the maltreatment and domestic violence class, reported higher symptoms of anxiety and depression and an increased likelihood of non-suicidal self-injury, suicide ideation and suicide attempt. The findings carry important implications for understanding patterns of child maltreatment, and the implications for preventative strategies and support services are discussed.

Keywords: anxiety; child abuse and neglect; childhood maltreatment; depression; exposure to domestic violence; latent class analysis; sibling violence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse* / psychology
  • Crime Victims* / psychology
  • Domestic Violence*
  • Exposure to Violence* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Siblings