The Impact of Emotional Abuse on Psychological Distress among Child Protective Services-Involved Adolescents with Borderline-to-Mild Intellectual Disability
Weiss, Jonathan A.
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Childhood maltreatment is a robust contributing factor to mental health problems in adolescents. The current study examines the impact of childhood emotional abuse on adolescent psychological distress in 48 youths with borderline-to-mild intellectual disability (ID), as compared to 117 peers with average intellectual functioning. Both emotional abuse and intellectual functioning predicted the severity of youth psychological distress. Childhood emotional abuse has an impact on adolescent distress, and maltreated child welfare-involved youth with lower IQ levels may be more vulnerable to distress than youth with average IQ. This raises a question regarding the detection of subtle manifestations of ID and the need to attend to mental health within this sub-population receiving child welfare services.