TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Abuse in childhood and young adulthood is associated with an increased risk for long-term welfare receipt, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in Pediatrics.

Pascale Domond, Ph.D., from Ste-Justine University Hospital Research Center in Canada, and colleagues conducted a database linkage study including data for 3,020 participants from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children cohort born in 1980 and government administrative databases. Participants answered retrospective questionnaires at age 22 years on experienced childhood abuse (age younger 18 years) and intimate partner violence (IPV; ages 18 to 22 years) to examine the correlation with welfare receipt.

Of 1,690 participants with available data, 22.4, 14.5, and 18.5 percent reported childhood abuse only, IPV only, and both, respectively. The prevalence of childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, and both was 20.4, 12.2, and 8.3 percent, respectively. The researchers found that childhood physical abuse alone and physical or sexual abuse combined correlated with a twofold increased risk for welfare receipt compared with no abuse after adjustment for socioeconomic background and individual characteristics (adjusted incidence risk ratios, 2.43 and 2.04, respectively). Risk was increased more than threefold with repeated abuse (childhood abuse combined with adult IPV; adjusted incidence ratio, 3.59).

“Early support and intervention services for victims of abuse could reduce economic burden at governmental and individual levels, with societal or economic benefits for current and future generations,” the authors write.

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