The study shows that the potential socioeconomic impact of child neglect and abuse may persist for decades..
‘Right intervention at the right time is needed to improve abilities like mathematics and reading skills among the neglected children and support them.’
The reading and mathematics skills among adolescents, who were neglected as children, were poor compared to their peers. This may explain their inability to find work and progress in the job market. .
The peak earning capacity in the UK is considered as 50 years and poor standards of living at this age can indicate hardship and associated ill-health during old age.
According to a study in 2011 for the Department of Work and Pensions, Britain loses 140 million working days a year through absence due to sickness, while UK employers pay Ģ9 billion per year in sick-pay associated costs.
The researchers followed the lives of 8,076 people, examining key socioeconomic indicators, from their birth in 1958 until the age of 50 years.
The research found adults who had been neglected as children were approximately 70% more likely to have time off work due to long-term sickness. They also did not own their home at 50 years, compared to their peers who had not suffered from child abuse and neglect.
Experiencing multiple types of maltreatment as children, increased the risk of negative outcome as adults. The risk of long-term absence from work was double in adults who were tormented both mentally and physically as children.
"Our findings suggest that maltreated children grow up to face socioeconomic disadvantage. This is important because such disadvantage could in turn influence the health of individuals affected and also that of their children," said Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), who led the research.
"As well as highlighting the importance of prevention of maltreatment in childhood, our research identified poor reading and mathematics skills as a likely connecting factor from child neglect to poor adult outcomes. This suggests that action is needed to improve and support these abilities in neglected children." Dr Pereira added.
The new research undertaken at University College of London (UCL) is published in the U.S journal Pediatrics
- Snehal Pinto Pereira et al. Child Maltreatment and Adult Living Standards at 50 Years. Pediatrics; (2016)