Maltreatment and Trauma Symptoms: Does Type of Maltreatment Matter?

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Abstract

Objective: Children frequently report a heightened experience of psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, aggression, and posttraumatic stress disorder in response to maltreatment. However, in recent years, scholars have suggested that different types of maltreatment may be associated with different symptomatology in children. Method: In the present study, we employ the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (TSCYC) to investigate whether children who have experienced different types of maltreatment reveal different profiles of symptomatology. Nonmaltreated (n = 101) and maltreated (n = 52) children between 3 and 12 years of age were included in the present study. Maltreatment was further categorized into the subgroups abuse and neglect. Results: Findings proved the TSCYC to be successful in distinguishing nonmaltreated from maltreated children in terms of symptomatology. Furthermore, abused children showed a broader spectrum of symptoms, whereas neglected children differed on fewer symptom scales compared with their nonmaltreated peers. Lastly, abused children evinced more externalizing symptoms than the neglected children. Conclusion: In line with previous research, maltreated children do have more psychological symptoms, and, abused children showed enhanced psychological problems and more externalizing symptoms in particular.

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