Childhood psychiatric outcomes in the context of suspected neglect and abuse reports related and unrelated to parental substance use

Kriti D. Gandhi, Magdalena Romanowicz, Paul E. Croarkin, Prabin Thapa, Mara Limbeck, Jinal Desai, Amanda J.M. Benarroch, Julia Shekunov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Child maltreatment is prevalent in the United States and carries long-term consequences. Parental substance use may have associations with child maltreatment. It is unclear whether co-occurring parental substance use aggravates childhood psychiatric outcomes related to suspected maltreatment. Objective: To compare psychiatric and healthcare utilization outcomes in children with suspected abuse reports, with and without documented parental substance use. Participants and setting: Retrospective cohort study (n = 2831) of children with suspected abuse/neglect (SANC) reports filed in the electronic health record between January 1, 2000 and January 1, 2016. Children who had SANC reports referencing parental substance use (n = 458) were compared with those who had SANC reports that did not reference substance use (n = 2346). Methods: Outcome data included ICD-10 coded medical and psychiatric diagnoses and healthcare utilization. Results: Compared to children who had a SANC report filed without parental substance use, children with parental substance use in a SANC showed significantly lower age-adjusted odds of anxiety disorder, mood disorder and externalizing disorder, and higher odds of a substance use disorder diagnosis. They were also less likely to present to an emergency department visit for any reason in the year prior to the report. Conclusions: Children with exposure to parental substance use in a household where parental abuse or neglect was suspected had lower odds of adverse psychiatric outcomes as compared to children with suspected report of abuse or neglect unrelated to parental substance use. The present findings highlight the complex interplay of psychosocial factors associated with outcomes of childhood maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105344
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Child maltreatment
  • Parental substance use
  • Psychiatric diagnoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Childhood psychiatric outcomes in the context of suspected neglect and abuse reports related and unrelated to parental substance use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this