LONGSCAN was a longitudinal study of the risks and consequences of child abuse and neglect conducted between 1992 and 2012 among five sites across the US. Interviews with mothers of at‐risk children began when the children were four years of age, and mothers and children from age six to age 18 years were interviewed every other year. Maltreatment reports were obtained from departments of social services, and subjects’ self‐reported abuse was obtained at age 12. Generalised estimating equations were used to investigate the impact of informal social control, social cohesion and trust (SCT), and caregiver depression at ages 12, 14 and 16 years on externalising behaviours, smoking and alcohol use among 18‐year olds who had been neglected prior to age 12. In models controlling for child age and gender, maltreatment types other than neglect, maternal education and study site, SCT significantly reduced the impact of caregiver depression on externalising behaviour and alcohol use among the neglected children at age 18. This moderating effect was not seen among non‐neglected 18‐year‐old children. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Key Practitioner Messages:
Child neglect is a significant predictor of adolescent health risk behaviours.
Caregiver depression increases the risk of neglect and increases the adverse behavioural outcomes of neglect.
Among children neglected before age 12, in the presence of caregiver depression, SCT reduce externalising behaviours and alcohol use at age 18.
Identification and treatment of caregiver depression, along with supporting community cohesion and neighbourhood trust, can ameliorate some of the negative outcomes associated with child neglect.
‘Child neglect is a significant predictor of adolescent health risk behaviours’