Publications: Child Protection

  • Childhood maltreatment and early developmental vulnerabilities at age 5 years.


 Summary and citations

  • Green, M.J., Tzoumakis, S., McIntyre, B., Kariuki, M., Laurens, K.R., Dean, K., Chilvers, M., Harris, F., Butler, M., Brinkman, S.A., Carr, V.J. (2017). Childhood maltreatment and early developmental vulnerabilities at age 5 years. Child Development, Aug 2017. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12928. 

 The study focused on the effects of early life maltreatment on early childhood developmental outcomes, including examination of the effects of multiple maltreatment types and the timing of maltreatment in a large population sample. We specifically examined associations between the type, and timing of childhood maltreatment and early developmental vulnerabilities in a population sample of 68,459 children (34,562 males) drawn from the New South Wales Child Development Study (NSW-CDS) cohort, using linked administrative data for children and their parents (collected from 2001-2009). The mean age of the child sample was 5.62 years (SD=0.37), and 2,135 children had already been exposed to (substantiated) maltreatment according to child protection records. Exposure to any type of childhood maltreatment was associated with pervasive developmental vulnerability at age 5 years. Children exposed to two or more maltreatment types, and with first maltreatment reported after 3 years of age, showed greater likelihood of vulnerability on multiple developmental domains relative to non-maltreated children. These patterns of association were found in the context of other important risk factors for early childhood developmental vulnerabilities that have been implicated in previous studies (e.g., male sex, maternal smoking during pregnancy).