Author(s): Cohen AJ, Adler N, Kaplan SJ, Pelcovitz D, Mandel FS
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to explore the interactional effects of parental marital disruption and physical abuse on risk for adolescent psychopathology in a nonclinical sample with a randomly selected control group. METHOD: The sample was drawn from 99 community-based adolescents indicated as physically abused by Child Protective Services and 99 randomly selected controls. Nonabused adolescents whose parents were married, abused adolescents whose parents were married, nonabused adolescents with a parental marital disruption, and abused adolescents with a parental marital disruption were compared. Outcome was psychopathology as measured by psychiatric diagnosis based on a best-estimate procedure subsequent to semistructured diagnostic interviewing. RESULTS: Interactional effects of marital disruption and abuse were found for risk for lifetime Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), with parental marital disruption and having been physically abused combining to increase the risk 15 times for diagnosis of lifetime ADHD. Parental marital status alone was not a significant risk factor for adolescent psychopathology, but physical abuse was a significant risk factor for several diagnostic categories. CONCLUSIONS: Future divorce research should include abuse history as a possible confounding variable. Possible reasons for the findings are reviewed and clinical implications are discussed.
This article was published in Child Abuse Negl
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Medical Genomics