This study compared the neuropsychological profiles of 79 neglected children (with and without physical abuse) to a control group of 53 children matched for age, gender and annual family income. Children who were neglected as well as being physically abused showed cognitive deficits in auditory attention and response set, visual-motor integration, problem solving, abstraction, and planning. Children who were neglected, but not physically abused, showed cognitive deficits in auditory attention and response set and visual motor integration. However, surprisingly, these children also demonstrated a greater capacity for problem solving, abstraction, and planning, when compared to the physically abused and neglected children and the control children. Results show that cognitive deficits in maltreated children are heterogeneous, and neglect combined with physical abuse is more harmful than neglect alone.
Child Abuse and Neglect, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp. 631-643