Childhood maltreatment and psychiatric disorders among detained youths

Devon C. King, Karen M. Abram*, Erin G. Romero, Jason J. Washburn, Leah J. Welty, Linda A. Teplin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the prevalence of childhood maltreatment and its relationship with current psychiatric disorders among detained youths. Methods: Clinical research interviewers assessed history of childhood maltreatment with the Child Maltreatment Assessment Profile and psychiatric diagnosis with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, version 2.3, in a stratified, random sample of 1,829 youths detained at the Cook Country Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (final sample, N=1,735). History of maltreatment was also ascertained from Cook County Court Child Protection Division records. Results: More than three-quarters of females and more than two-thirds of males had a history of physical abuse (moderate or severe). More than 40% of females and 10% of males had a history of sexual abuse. Females and non-Hispanic whites had the highest prevalence rates of childhood maltreatment. Among females, sexual abuse was associated with every type of psychiatric disorder. Females who experienced various types of abuse were 2.6 to 10.7 times as likely as females with no maltreatment to have any disorder. Among males, maltreatment was associated with every disorder except anxiety disorders (range of odds ratios, 1.9-7.9). Among youths who were sexually abused, abuse with force was associated with anxiety and affective disorders among females and attention-deficit hyperactivity or disruptive behavior disorders and substance use disorders among males. Conclusions: Childhood maltreatment is common among detained youths and is also highly associated with psychiatric disorders. The mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems must collaborate to ensure that youths receive protection and care when they return to their communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1430-1438
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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