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Early childhood maltreatment and trajectories of behavioral problems: exploring gender and racial differences

Early childhood maltreatment and trajectories of behavioral problems: exploring gender and racial differences

Child Abuse and Neglect 38(3): 544-556

ISSN/ISBN: 0145-2134

PMID: 23993147

DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.07.018

The current study aimed to examine the trajectory of child behavior problems over time as a function of early maltreatment. We anticipated that early alleged maltreatment would have a substantial impact on both internalizing and externalizing behaviors. The impact of gender and racial differences in the trajectories were also examined. Using the LONGSCAN archived data, a total of 484 children were selected for the study from varying sites. Two groups were formed: children with early allegations of maltreatment from birth to age 4 and children without any report. Children included did not have further allegations of maltreatment from ages 4 to 12. Additionally, they must have completed a behavioral assessment using the Child Behavior Checklist at the age 4 baseline interview. Multilevel modeling using the SAS PROC MIXED procedure was used to examine the effects of early allegations of maltreatment on the trajectories of both internalizing and externalizing problems. Although race was not significant, gender was found to differ in trajectory of behavioral problems among children with early allegations of maltreatment. For boys, the impact of early maltreatment was strongest at the most proximal assessment of behavioral outcomes and then decreased gradually over the course of subsequent periods. For girls, although no significant impact was observed at each measurement point, the impact of early maltreatment increased and became pronounced over time. Findings support the importance of early intervention/prevention to decrease the likelihood of presenting behavioral problems in later childhood years with consideration to gender.

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Accession: 052755912

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