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Multi-type childhood maltreatment: associations with health risk behaviours and mental health problems in adolescence
- MANGION Mariella, BUTTIGIEG Sandra C.
- Journal article citation:
- Journal of Children's Services, 9(3), 2014, pp.191-206.
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to determine whether multi-type child maltreatment is associated with health-risk behaviours and mental ill-health in adolescence. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 406 15-16-year-old students from Maltese schools answered the “Child maltreatment physical and mental health” questionnaire (Nguyen et al., 2010). This assessed demographics, health risk behaviour, mental health and child maltreatment. Findings: Of the four categories of maltreatment measured (physical, sexual, emotional and neglect), 27.4 per cent of the young people experienced one type, 16.6 per cent two types, 11.1 per cent three and 6.5 per cent four. For health-risk behaviours, there were positive relationships between multi-type maltreatment and school fights, breaking school rules, illicit drug use and alcohol use. As regards mental health, multi-type maltreatment was positively associated with depression and anxiety, and negatively associated with self-esteem. Practical implications: Early recognition of multi-type maltreatment and its consequences enables providers of children's services to offer the required diverse range of services. Additionally, policy makers should ensure the adoption of multi-sectoral and collaborative inter-agency approaches so as to effectively and holistically manage child maltreatment, not only during the acute childhood phase but also during adolescence and adulthood, when consequences are expected to emerge. (Edited publisher abstract)