The impact of exposure to maltreatment on psychological adjustment has been investigated through the variables that make up this construct, such as academic performance, self esteem and social competence.
Research regarding psychological adjustment has also looked into the impact of childhood maltreatment upon social competence and self-esteem (Kim & Cicchetti, 2004; Shen, 2009; Van Bruggen, Runtz, & Kadlec, 2006).
As discussed, the effects of exposure to child maltreatment on self-esteem, social competence, relationships with peers, and school performance have been widely investigated by international studies.
Considering the evidence regarding the impact of childhood maltreatment upon development, the present study aimed to answer the following research question: how does exposure to childhood maltreatment affect psychological adjustment?
A systematic review was carried out in search of studies investigating the effects of exposure to childhood maltreatment upon psychological adjustment.
Two independent judges read each abstract and selected articles according to the following inclusion criteria: (a) empirical investigations of maltreatment and self-esteem, social competence, academic performance or peer relationships; (b) cross-sectional, case-control, randomized clinical trial or cohort study design; (c) at least one control group composed of individuals with no history of maltreatment.
The second section, the main findings regarding the effects of childhood maltreatment on self-esteem, social competence, academic performance and peer relationships will be discussed.
Methodology of Studies and Instruments Used to Assess Maltreatment, Self-Esteem, Social Competence, Academic Performance and Peer Relationships
Ten studies classified individuals in the EG according to the type of maltreatment suffered (Arata et al.
They found that teenagers aged 12 and 21, with a history of sexual abuse were at two-fold odds of reporting binge drinking than those with no maltreatment.
3 times higher odds of reporting binge drinking than those with no maltreatment
Those who experienced all three types of maltreatment were about 1.
Research examining the effect of childhood maltreatment on later alcohol abuse needs to recognize the clustering effects of multiple types of childhood maltreatment on alcohol problems," the study from Boston University noted.
We now have strong evidence indicating that adverse childhood experiences such as child maltreatment increases an individual's risk for alcohol problems in adolescence," said Sunny Hyucksun Shin, Assistant Professor of Human Behaviour in the Social Environment at Boston University's School of Social Work.
The new challenges we face in substance use research is to identify developmental mechanisms that link childhood maltreatment to heavy episodic drinking in adolescence that can be targeted in the future development of prevention intervention," he added.