People who suffer neglect and abuse in childhood are much more likely to have time off work due to long-term sickness and less likely to own their own homes when they reach middle age than their peers, according to new research undertaken at University College London.
The study, which is published in U.S. journal Pediatrics and undertaken as part of the Public Health Research Consortium, showed that the potential socioeconomic impact of child neglect and abuse may persist for decades.
The researchers found that neglected children often had worse reading and mathematics skills in adolescence than their peers, which could hamper their ability to find work and progress in the job market. These factors did not explain the poorer standard of living for those reporting child abuse.
The team followed the lives of 8,076 people from birth in 1958 until the age of 50 years, examining key socioeconomic indicators.
A person’s economic circumstances at the age of 50 are important because this is close to peak earning capacity in the UK and poor living standards at this age can signal hardship and associated ill health during old age.
The research found adults who had been neglected in childhood were approximately 70% more likely to have time off work due to long-term sickness and not own their home at 50 years, compared to their peers who had not suffered from child abuse and neglect.
Also, the risk of a poor outcome was greatest for people experiencing multiple types of child maltreatment. For example those experiencing two or more types of child maltreatment, such as both child neglect and physical abuse, had more than double the risk of long-term sickness absence from work, compared to those experiencing no child maltreatment.
“Our findings suggest that maltreated children grow up to face socioeconomic disadvantage. This is important because such disadvantage could in turn influence the health of individuals affected and also that of their children,” said Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), who led the research.
“As well as highlighting the importance of prevention of maltreatment in childhood, our research identified poor reading and mathematics skills as a likely connecting factor from child neglect to poor adult outcomes. This suggests that action is needed to improve and support these abilities in neglected children.”
According to a study in 2011 for the Department of Work and Pensions, Britain loses 140 million working days a year through sickness absence, while UK employers pay £9 billion a year in sick-pay associated costs.
more recommended stories
Post-pandemic widening of inequalities for children in the North of England
Research from Newcastle University.
70% of secondary school students admit to future career fear
One in five (19%) of secondary school.
Literacy Trust get kids talking about climate and how to care for the environment
Resources for Earth Day
Music improves social communication in autistic children
Engaging in musical activities such as.
Gender inequality could be driving the deaths of girls under 5
Levels of gender inequality across the.
Children with autism, developmental delays nearly 50% more likely to be overweight
A new study by researchers at.
Poorest areas in England infested with Fast Food outlets
New figures from Public Health England.
Warning follows report into online child sexual abuse risk
If the public are serious about.
Access to high performing schools in England has become more geographically unequal finds @EduPolicyInst
A new report by the Education.
World’s 1st Testicular Cancer App is launched & it’s achingly simple
The first, simple to use, step-by-step.