Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Original Article

Correlations between childhood maltreatment and anxiety and depressive symptoms and risk behaviors in school adolescents

Daniela Ladeira Reis, Mônica Ribeiro, Isabela Couto, Nina Maia, Dagoberto Bonavides, Ana Cristina Botelho, Claudia Luisa Sena, Curt Hemanny, Irismar Reis de Oliveira

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Childhood maltreatment is extremely harmful to health, especially regarding the development of psychiatric disorders throughout life. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence and types of maltreatment and investigate the association between maltreatment and anxiety and depressive symptoms, sociodemographic variables, and risk behaviors in a sample of school adolescents. The study also identified which variables were the greatest predictors of anxiety and depressive symptoms. 

We conducted a cross-sectional study with a sample of 654 students aged 11 to 17 years. We collected sociodemographic data and applied the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS-47) to measure anxiety and depressive symptoms, and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) to evaluate maltreatment and adverse experiences in childhood and adolescence, like abuse and negligence. Statistical analyses were made to obtain correlations between sociodemographic data, anxiety, depression, and types of maltreatment. Also, a regression analysis was made to identify the maltreatment types that predict psychological symptoms. 

Emotional abuse and emotional neglect are the most prevalent types of maltreatment. Statistically, emotional abuse was the maltreatment most correlated with depression and anxiety and tended to co-occur simultaneously with other types of maltreatment. Also, emotional and sexual abuse were the greatest predictors of anxiety and depression in adolescence. 

The above results reinforce the findings of previous studies in terms of understanding the effects of maltreatment. They point to emotional abuse as the main predictor of depressive and anxiety symptoms.


Maltreatment, depression, anxiety, mental health, adolescence

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