Latent profiles of childhood psychological maltreatment and their links to adult mental health in China and the UK

Zhuoni Xiao*, Ingrid Obsuth, Franziska Meinck, Aja Louise Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Though links between childhood maltreatment and mental health have been established, little known about how specific types of childhood maltreatment tend to cluster and how the resulting patterns of exposure impact mental health outcomes.

Method: The current study used latent profile analyses in Chinese (N = 544) and UK (N = 589) samples to identify childhood psychological maltreatment profiles (i.e., profiles of psychological abuse, psychological neglect, and psychological non-support) in different country contexts, and their associations with a range of mental health (i.e., depression, anxiety, anger, physical aggression, verbal aggression, and hostility), and broader well-being (i.e., self-esteem) outcomes. Unadjusted as well as analyses adjusted for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were conducted.

Results: Four profiles were identified in both samples, but their nature differed between the Chinese sample (“Psychological Non-support”, “Low-Maltreated”, “High-Maltreated”, and “Severe-Maltreated”) and the UK sample (“Low-Maltreated”, “Moderate-Maltreated”, “High-Maltreated”, and “Severe-Maltreated”). Individuals in the “Psychological Non-support” in China and “Low-Maltreated” class in the UK displayed better mental health outcomes–lower levels of depression, anxiety, and aggression, and higher self-esteem. In contrast, individuals in the “Severe-Maltreated” profiles in both the Chinese and UK samples displayed poorer mental health outcomes–higher depression, anxiety, and aggression, and lower self-esteem. Interventions and prevention efforts are needed for individuals categorized in profiles affected by psychological maltreatment.

Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of using targeted intervention or prevention to prevent psychological maltreatment, as well as improve mental health outcomes in individuals who have experienced psychological maltreatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • latent profile analysis
  • psychological maltreatment
  • mental health
  • cultural differences
  • mental well-being


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