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Interpersonal Relationships

The following is a summary of the systematic review findings up to the date of our most recent literature search. If you have a specific clinical case, we strongly recommend you read all of the relevant references as cited and look for additional material published outside our search dates.


Four studies evaluated the impact of neglect on interpersonal relationships 1-3,5


Five different tools were used within these studies


Dating Violence

  • Only one non-comparative study explored dating violence; this found that physical neglect was predictive of higher dating violence victimisation in boys 3

Peer Influence

  • One study explored the association between neglect and peer influence on risk taking, finding no association 1

Family Engagement

  • One study observed that the neglected adolescents were more likely to describe difficulties with their family relationships than non-neglected youth, with lower family cohesion and more daily stress 5, whilst another study reported that neglect was not associated with family involvement 1

General Victimisation

  • In a study of general victimisation, neglected girls were significantly more likely to experience victimisation, whereas neglected boys were not 2


Emotional Maltreatment

Three non-comparative studies explored the impact of emotional maltreatment on interpersonal relationships 1,3,4


Dating Violence

  • Two studies examined emotional maltreatment and dating violence and both showed a positive association 3,4
  • One study observed that emotional abuse significantly predicted male victimisation and perpetration of dating violence; the dating violence perpetration was mediated by PTSD symptomatology 3
  • The data relating to girls could not be analysed as the information relating to emotional abuse was combined with physical abuse data 3
  • The second study found that the emotionally abused adolescents had higher dating violence victimisation but no specific association to perpetration 4

Family Engagement

  • One study found that adolescents experiencing emotional abuse experienced lower levels of family engagement 1


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  1. Kools S, Paul SM, Norbeck JS, Robbins NR. Dimensions of health in young people in foster care. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. 2009;21(2):221-233 [Pubmed]

  2. Tyler KA, Johnson KA, Brownridge DA. A longitudinal study of the effects of child maltreatment on later outcomes among high-risk adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 2008;37(5):506-521 [Abstract available from Springer Link]

  3. Wekerle C, Leung E, Wall AM, MacMillan H, Boyle M, Trocme N, Waechter R. The contribution of childhood emotional abuse to teen dating violence among child protective services-involved youth. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2009;33(1):45-58 [Pubmed]

  4. Wekerle C, Wolfe DA, Hawkins DL, Pittman AL, Glickman A, Lovald BE. Childhood maltreatment, posttraumatic stress symptomatology, and adolescent dating violence: considering the value of adolescent perceptions of abuse and a trauma mediational model. Development and Psychopathology. 2001;13(4):847-871 [Pubmed]

  5. Williamson JM, Borduin CM, Howe BA. The ecology of adolescent maltreatment: a multilevel examination of adolescent physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1991;59(3):449-457 [Pubmed]


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