This study of childhood maltreatment and cognitive functioning in middle adulthood demonstrate that childhood maltreatment is associated with cognitive functioning deficits in adulthood and suggest that cognitive change in adulthood may be differentially impacted by type of maltreatment.
The results of this study exploring the relationship between childhood maltreatment and change in cognitive functioning over a 10-year period in adulthood demonstrate that childhood maltreatment is associated with cognitive functioning deficits in adulthood and suggest that cognitive change in adulthood may be differentially impacted by type of maltreatment. The initial deficit demonstrated by adults with childhood neglect was largely erased by a subsequent increase in cognitive functioning over 10 years. Childhood maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or neglect) is associated with cognitive deficits in adulthood. Little is known about how childhood maltreatment affects the trajectory of cognitive functioning during early to middle adulthood. Utilizing a prospective cohort design, a large group of court-substantiated cases of childhood maltreatment (ages 0–11) and demographically matched controls were followed into adulthood (N = 1196). Verbal intelligence and reading ability were assessed at age 29, and executive functioning was assessed at age 41. Linear, mixed-effects modeling was used to evaluate childhood maltreatment as a predictor of cognitive functioning and change in cognitive functioning over time. Childhood maltreatment was associated with lower cognitive functioning at age 29 compared to controls (β = −0.28, p < .001), and this association was stronger for childhood neglect (β = −0.33, p < .001). Controls declined in cognitive functioning over the 10-year period (β = −0.12, p = .039), whereas childhood maltreatment overall was associated with no change. Adults with histories of neglect demonstrated an increase in cognitive functioning (β = 0.13, p = .021). (Published Abstract Provided)
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