Anxiety and/or depression in 10-15-year-olds investigated by child welfare in Canada

Journal article
Canadian CW research

Tonmyr, Lil
Williams, Gabriela
Hovdestad, Wendy E.
Draca, Jasminka

Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(5): 493-498

Purpose: To examine five types of child maltreatment and other risk correlates to establish associations with anxiety and/or depression confirmed or suspected in children investigated by child welfare services.

Methods: The present study used the data of a subsample of 10–15-year-olds (n = 4,381) investigated by child welfare services across Canada obtained from the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2003. The analysis took into account the nested structure of the data by considering the variability existing among families and the clustering of siblings within them. Several models were analyzed for the construction of the presented hierarchical model. Striving for parsimony, we included only statistically significant variables in the final model.

Results: The strongest associations were found with child substance abuse, substantiated emotional maltreatment, primary caregiver's mental health problems, and substantiated sexual abuse. Among the child maltreatment variables, substantiated physical abuse and substantiated exposure to domestic violence did not show any statistically significant associations with anxiety and/or depression in the model.

Conclusion: This analysis helped us in understanding child maltreatment and other adverse experiences in childhood that were related to anxiety and/or depression, which can further aid in the development of mental health and child welfare policies and programs.

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