Childhood psychological maltreatment subtypes and adolescent depressive symptoms

Elise Paul, John Eckenrode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to understand how subtypes and the timing of psychological maltreatment contribute to adolescent depressive symptoms at age 14. The sample included 638 youth from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). At age 12, youth reported experiences of psychological maltreatment (degradation, isolating, and terrorizing), physical abuse (endangerment and physical injury), and sexual abuse that occurred before and during elementary school/last year. Multivariable regression models were conducted separately for females and males at each of the two time periods and accounted for demographics, primary caregiver depressive symptoms, other maltreatment subtypes, and youth-reported age 12 depressive symptoms. For girls, caregiver degradation was the only maltreatment subtype that contributed unique variance to depressive symptoms. Degradation before elementary school and chronic degradation had a stronger impact on depression symptoms. Only caregiver isolating behaviors during elementary school/last year and chronic isolation predicted depressive symptoms in boys. These results suggest that childhood psychological maltreatment is multi-dimensional and is implicated in the etiology of adolescent depressive symptoms. Future prevention efforts should consider parental psychological maltreatment in reducing risk for adolescent depression.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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