In earlier research, the PI demonstrated convincingly that childhood victimization places children at increased risk for delinquency, adult criminality, and violent criminal behavior. However, Phase I examined a limited range of outcome variables focusing on official arrest records, and did not address possible alternative manifestive consequences of early child abuse and neglect. This follow-up study is to determine the longterm mental health consequences of child abuse and neglect beyond adolescence and into young adulthood and to examine the role of protective factors that might buffer some of these children from developing negative outcomes. In-person interviews of Phase II permit examination of a broader range of outcomes. The main objectives of this follow-up study are: (1) to continue to locate, interview, and assess young adult adjustment in a large sample of individuals who were abused and/or neglected as children during the years 1967 through 1971 and a matched control group; (2) to document the longterm mental health consequences of early child abuse and neglect across a number of domains of functioning; (3) to identify a group of resilient children and to examine the role of protective factors which may act to mitigate against the development of negative outcomes; (4) to compare retrospective self-reports of abuse and neglect with information from official records of child abuse and neglect; and (5) to lay the foundation for future studies of these individuals and their children (using information obtained at present as predictors of future behavior). This proposal is a request for funds to conduct 400 additional interviews, to complete the data collection and coding, to perform psychometric analyses and statistical tests of the model proposed, and to prepare manuscripts. This study is based on a prospective cohorts design, in which a large sample of children who were physically and sexually abused and neglected (n=908) approximately 20 years ago are compared with those of a matched control group (n=667) of individuals with no official record of abuse and neglect. The interview takes about 2 hours to complete and consists of a series of structured and semi-structured questions and rating scales covering individual and family history, history of physical and sexual abuse and neglect, psychiatric assessment (using the NIMH-DIS), self-report of delinquency and adult criminality, other outcome measures (including IQ, reading ability, self-esteem, hostility, and dissociation) and a number of potential moderator variables, such as coping, mastery, social support, stressful life events, and sensation seeking. All of this information will be linked to the extensive data collected earlier about the abuse or neglect incident, placement experiences, and official criminal history information for these individuals. This study will provide one of the most comprehensive data sets on the longterm mental health consequences of early child abuse and neglect.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Violence and Traumatic Stress Review Committee (VTS)
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State University of New York at Albany
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
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Widom, Cathy Spatz; Czaja, Sally J; Kozakowski, Sandra Sepulveda et al. (2018) Does adult attachment style mediate the relationship between childhood maltreatment and mental and physical health outcomes? Child Abuse Negl 76:533-545
Widom, Cathy Spatz; Horan, Jacqueline; Brzustowicz, Linda (2015) Childhood maltreatment predicts allostatic load in adulthood. Child Abuse Negl 47:59-69
Horan, Jacqueline M; Widom, Cathy S (2015) From Childhood Maltreatment to Allostatic Load in Adulthood: The Role of Social Support. Child Maltreat 20:229-39
Horan, Jacqueline M; Widom, Cathy Spatz (2015) Cumulative childhood risk and adult functioning in abused and neglected children grown up. Dev Psychopathol 27:927-41
Milaniak, Izabela; Widom, Cathy Spatz (2015) Does Child Abuse and Neglect Increase Risk for Perpetration of Violence Inside and Outside the Home? Psychol Violence 5:246-255
Francis, Melville M; Nikulina, Valentina; Widom, Cathy Spatz (2015) A Prospective Examination of the Mechanisms Linking Childhood Physical Abuse to Body Mass Index in Adulthood. Child Maltreat 20:203-13
Widom, Cathy Spatz; Czaja, Sally J; DuMont, Kimberly A (2015) Intergenerational transmission of child abuse and neglect: real or detection bias? Science 347:1480-5
Horan, Jacqueline M; Widom, Cathy Spatz (2015) Does age of onset of risk behaviors mediate the relationship between child abuse and neglect and outcomes in middle adulthood? J Youth Adolesc 44:670-82
Young, Joanna Cahall; Widom, Cathy Spatz (2014) Long-term effects of child abuse and neglect on emotion processing in adulthood. Child Abuse Negl 38:1369-81
Nikulina, Valentina; Widom, Cathy Spatz (2014) Do race, neglect, and childhood poverty predict physical health in adulthood? A multilevel prospective analysis. Child Abuse Negl 38:414-24

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