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Effects of Child Maltreatment, Cumulative Victimization Experiences, and Proximal Life Stress on Adult Outcomes of Substance Use, Mental Health Problems, and Antisocial Behavior

Award Information

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Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $428,396)

The purpose of this basic research project is to conduct secondary data analysis on a comprehensive, longitudinal dataset to examine the long-term, developmental effects of child maltreatment, subsequent victimization, and life stresses related to adult outcomes of substance use, mental health problems, and antisocial behavior. Comprehensive data on these and other adult outcomes were collected at the most recent adult follow-up of the Lehigh Longitudinal Study sample, completed in July, 2010. Over 80% of those children, now adults ages 31-41, were recently assessed using a comprehensive, interviewer-administered survey. The original sample was comprised of 457 children and their families in 1976-1977 when participants were preschoolers (18 months-6 years) and included children from child welfare cases in two counties as well as control groups comparable in gender, age and SES of children from day care, Head Start and nursery school settings. The sample is relatively homogeneous with respect to race and ethnicity but generally consistent with the makeup of the two-county area from which the sample was originally drawn (approximately 80% White, 11% more than one race, 5% Black/African American). Eighty-six percent of children were from two-parent households and the income level of 63% of families at baseline fell within the low income and/or poverty status range. Childhood data on risk and proactive factors as well as maltreatment are from multiple sources, including child welfare case records, birth records, observations of parents and children, school records, and parent and child surveys. Data collected during adolescence and adulthood offer detailed accounts of the psychosocial adjustment and well-being of participants and their families at later life stages, ongoing experiences of abuse and victimization, and sources of protection and resilience. Utilizing both descriptive and predictive models, as well as illustrative case studies related to each substantive aim (which includes an examination of gender differences), this study has the potential to have enormous public health and criminal justice significance by strengthening theory, guiding the development of interventions, and shifting policy to improve the lives of young people at-risk of costly but preventable problems in adulthood. ca/ncf.
Date Created: August 27, 2012