Maltreatment Subtypes, Depressed Mood, and Anhedonia: A Longitudinal Study With Adolescents

Joseph R. Cohen, Shiesha L. McNeil, Ryan C. Shorey, Jeff R. Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: Maltreatment exposure is a robust predictor of adolescent depression. Yet despite this well-documented association, few studies have simultaneously examined how maltreatment subtypes relate to qualitatively distinct depressive symptoms. The present multiwave longitudinal study addressed this gap in the literature by examining how different maltreatment subtypes independently impact depressed mood and anhedonia over time in a diverse adolescent sample. Method: Adolescents (N = 673, Mage = 14.83, SDage = 0.66, 57.1% female, 32.8% Hispanic, 30.4% Caucasian, 25.0% African American) completed self-report inventories for child-maltreatment and annual self-report measures of depressed mood and anhedonia over the course of 6 years. We used latent-growth-curve modeling to test how maltreatment exposure predicted anhedonia and depressed mood, and whether these relations differed as a function of sex and/or race/ethnicity. Results: Overall, both emotional abuse (p < .001) and neglect (p = .002) predicted levels of depressed mood over time, whereas only emotional neglect predicted levels (p < .001) and trajectories (p = .001) of anhedonia. Physical and sexual abuse did not predict depressive symptoms after accounting for emotional abuse and neglect (ns). These findings were largely invariant across sex and race. Conclusion: Findings suggest that the consequences of emotional neglect may be especially problematic in adolescence because of its impact on both depressed mood and anhedonia, and that emotional abuse’s association with depression is best explained via symptoms of depressed mood. These findings are congruent with recent findings that more “silent types” of maltreatment uniquely predict depression, and that abuse and neglect experiences confer distinct profiles of risk for psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-713
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2019


  • adolescence
  • anhedonia
  • depression
  • longitudinal data analysis
  • maltreatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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