PHRC Phase 2 (2011-2019) projects – Projects related to children and young people

Childhood maltreatment and adult life-chances: informing strategies to prevent poor health and well-being into mid-adulthood

Lead investigator

Professor Christine Power, UCL Institute of Child Health


Health effects of childhood maltreatment (neglect and abuse) are recognised increasingly to extend over the long-term and to diverse problems such as mental health and obesity. With effects perpetuating into adulthood when poor health may influence engagement in the labour market, child maltreatment may have a broad influence on adult life chances. Evidence is scant on the full extent of societal and individual costs.

Aims and objectives

We aim to build new knowledge on the links between child maltreatment and long-term outcomes in the general population. Using existing data for the 1958 British birth cohort, followed to age 50y, we will address:

  1. To what extent is child maltreatment associated with poor adult outcomes, such as long-term sickness absence, lack of employment or poor health?
  2. Which factors mediate or moderate associations, e.g., does better mental health protect against hazardous adult outcome?

By studying diverse adult outcomes, our goal is to shed light on the extent to which child maltreatment affects life chances, to identify influences that could ameliorate unfavourable effects and, thereby, inform strategies to alleviate adverse outcomes.


We will exploit the strengths of the cohort study, including nationwide coverage, long follow-up, prospective measures for exposures, potential mediating influences and outcomes.


  • Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira, UCL Institute of Child Health
  • Dr Leah Li, UCL Institute of Child Health
  • Dr Marie-Claude Geoffroy, McGill University, Canada

01/04/2016 - 31/03/2018 (24 months)