Childhood abuse and neglect and physical health at midlife: Prospective, longitudinal evidence

William F. Johnson*, Chloe O. Huelsnitz, Elizabeth A. Carlson, Glenn I. Roisman, Michelle M. Englund, Gregory E. Miller, Jeffry A. Simpson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Previous research suggests that the experience of abuse and neglect in childhood has negative implications for physical health in adulthood. Using data from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (N = 115), the present research examined the predictive significance of childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, and physical/cognitive neglect for multilevel assessments of physical health at midlife (age 37-39 years), including biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk, self-reports of quality of health, and a number of health problems. Analyses revealed that childhood physical/cognitive neglect, but not physical or sexual abuse, predicted all three health outcomes in middle adulthood, even when controlling for demographic risk factors and adult health maintenance behaviors. We discuss possible explanations for the unique significance of neglect in this study and suggest future research that could clarify previous findings regarding the differential impact of different types of abuse and neglect on adult health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1935-1946
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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