Child maltreatment and social connectedness among high-risk youth: Links with depression.

I. van Delft, C. Finkenauer, J. Verbruggen, C.C.J.H. Bijleveld

Research output: Contribution to ConferenceAbstractOther research output


The relationship between child maltreatment and negative adult outcomes is well established. Child maltreatment is associated with depression and decreased well-being in adulthood. However, a growing body of literature suggests that the risk of depression varies as a function of subtype, co-occurrence of maltreatment subtypes, and protective factors that predict resiliency. For example, the right level of social involvement and interaction with others might protect women from the negative consequences of child maltreatment. This study aimed to examine the independent effects of child maltreatment subtypes on depressive symptoms. Additionally, we examined to what extent social employment status and romantic relationships in young adulthood can diminish the negative consequences of child maltreatment later in life. The sample consists of 124 women who were treated in a Dutch juvenile justice institution during adolescence. Information on child maltreatment (sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and witnessing interparental violence) and depression at intake was extracted from treatment files that were constructed during their stay in the institution. Conducting face to face interviews (using a life history calendar) with respondents at age 32, we collected retrospective data on social connectedness (romantic relationships and employment) during young adulthood. In addition, the CES-D was used to measure depression in adulthood. Results show that 85% of the participants reported child maltreatment. Co-occurrence of child maltreatment subtypes was high, 60% of the participants experienced two or more subtypes of maltreatment. Neglect, physical abuse and interparental violence co-occurred most often. Child maltreatment subtypes were not independent predictors of depression in adulthood. In addition, employment status was related to depression in adulthood, whereas romantic relationships were not related to depression. High-risk youth are at risk for experiencing various forms of child maltreatment. However, employment might serve as a buffer for negative effects of child maltreatment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Eventthe 13th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 15 Sept 201318 Sept 2013


Conferencethe 13th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

Bibliographical note

Proceedings title: Thirteenth ISPCAN European Reginal Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Place of publication: Dublin, Ireland


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