The relationship between child neglect and adolescent interpersonal functioning: A systematic review

Zoe Haslam, Emily P. Taylor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neglect is a highly prevalent, yet historically understudied form of maltreatment. Recent research has revealed the far reaching and unique effects that neglect has on subsequent cognitive, behavioural and socio-emotional development, and on long-term physical and mental health outcomes. Adolescent interpersonal functioning is important to explore given the significant relational transitions that occur during this stage of development, and the known impact that these social changes can have on future life outcomes. 
Objective: This systematic review synthesises the literature exploring the relationship between neglect and adolescent interpersonal functioning in peer relationships. 
Methods: Seven databases and three grey literature sites were systematically searched, and identified records screened against inclusion criteria.
Results: Twenty-one articles were included in the final sample, exploring five different indicators of adolescent interpersonal functioning. Around half of the papers investigating quality of peer relationships found that neglect, particularly emotional neglect, is associated with reduced relationship quality, and there is consistent evidence that neglect increases the risk of gang involvement and deviant peer affiliation. 
Conclusions: These findings may be used to strengthen a trauma-informed approach to work with adolescents. Research on neglect and adolescent romantic relationships is sparse. Overall, the literature is varied and further research using longitudinal data and consistent measures of neglect would be of value.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105510
Number of pages13
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date22 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • adolescence
  • systematic review
  • interpersonal functioning
  • neglect


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