Association Between Child Maltreatment and Substance Use Disorder Across Emerging Adulthood

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Abstract

Child maltreatment is associated with substance use beginning in adolescence and throughout early adulthood. Substance use disorders (SUD) are most likely to develop during emerging adulthood (18–25 years old). Thus, to develop effective substance use prevention strategies, it is useful to know the ages at which associations between maltreatment exposure (prior to age 18) and SUD are most strongly tied. This study examined the age-varying association between child maltreatment and past-year SUD in emerging adulthood by sex and by maltreatment type using time-varying effect models (TVEM). Data were from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC-III). The analytic sample consisted of 5194 emerging adults. The association was strongest at younger ages, with individuals who experienced child maltreatment having three times greater odds of reporting SUD in the past-year. Differential associations were found by sex, racial-ethnic group, and maltreatment type across age. Prevention efforts may be more effective if their development is informed by these important differences and targeted at emerging adults rather than adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-349
Number of pages10
JournalChild Maltreatment
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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