Immediate and longitudinal effects of maltreatment on systemic inflammation in young children

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State

Researchers investigated the association between childhood maltreatment and salivary C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations in a population of N = 173 children, 3–5 years of age, who were recruited in the immediate aftermath of maltreatment and followed-up longitudinally every 6 months over a period of 2 years. It was found that the association between maltreatment and CRP concentrations was significantly moderated by child sex, such that in girls, CRP concentrations were higher in the maltreated compared to the control group, and this difference was stable across the 2-year follow-up-period, while in boys, there was no association between maltreatment and CRP. The findings suggest that the effect of maltreatment on inflammation may already emerge right after exposure at a very young age in girls and manifest over time.

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