Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect

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Behavioral Consequences

Not all victims of child abuse and neglect will experience behavioral consequences. However, behavioral problems appear to be more likely among this group, even at a young age. An NSCAW survey of children ages 3 to 5 in foster care found these children displayed clinical or borderline levels of behavioral problems at a rate of more than twice that of the general population (ACF, 2004b). Later in life, child abuse and neglect appear to make the following more likely:

Difficulties during adolescence. Studies have found abused and neglected children to be at least 25 percent more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, drug use, and mental health problems (Kelley, Thornberry, & Smith, 1997).

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