The Harmful Effect of Child Maltreatment on Economic Outcomes in Adulthood

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ObjectivesTo examine the effect of maltreatment during childhood on subsequent financial strain during adulthood and the extent to which this effect is mediated by adolescent depressive symptoms, adolescent substance abuse, attenuated educational achievement, and timing of first birth.MethodsWe specified a multilevel path model to examine the developmental cascade of child maltreatment. We used data from a longitudinal panel study of 496 parents participating in the Rochester Intergenerational Study, in Rochester, New York. Data were collected between 1988 and 2016.ResultsChild maltreatment had both a direct and indirect (via the mediators) effect on greater financial strain during adulthood.ConclusionsMaltreatment has the capacity to disrupt healthy development during adolescence and early adulthood and puts the affected individual at risk for economic difficulties later in life. Maltreatment is a key social determinant for health and prosperity, and initiatives to prevent maltreatment and provide mental health and social services to victims are critical.

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