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Early-adult correlates of maltreatment in girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Increased risk for internalizing symptoms and suicidality

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2015

Maya D. Guendelman
University of California, Berkeley
Elizabeth B. Owens
University of California, Berkeley
Chardee Galán
University of Pittsburgh
Arianna Gard
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Stephen P. Hinshaw
University of California, Berkeley
E-mail address:


We examined whether maltreatment experienced in childhood and/or adolescence prospectively predicts young adult functioning in a diverse and well-characterized sample of females with childhood-diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (N = 140). Participants were part of a longitudinal study and carefully evaluated in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood (M age = 9.6, 14.3, and 19.7 years, respectively), with high retention rates across time. A thorough review of multisource data reliably established maltreatment status for each participant (M κ = 0.78). Thirty-two (22.9%) participants experienced at least one maltreatment type (physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect). Criterion variables included a broad array of young adult measures of functioning gleaned from multiple-source, multiple-informant instruments. With stringent statistical control of demographic, prenatal, and family status characteristics as well as baseline levels of the criterion variable in question, maltreated participants were significantly more impaired than nonmaltreated participants with respect to self-harm (suicide attempts), internalizing symptomatology (anxiety and depression), eating disorder symptomatology, and well-being (lower overall self-worth). Effect sizes were medium. Comprising the first longitudinal evidence linking maltreatment with key young adult life impairments among a carefully diagnosed and followed sample of females with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, these findings underscore the clinical importance of trauma experiences within this population.

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