A meta-analysis of case-control studies investigating language in maltreated children. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this review article, meta-analysis was used to summarize research investigating language skills in maltreated children.A systematic search of published studies was undertaken. Studies were included in the meta-analysis if they investigated language skills in groups comprising maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Studies were selected if these 2 groups of children were of comparable age and from a similar socioeconomic background.A total of 26 studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria. Results from the meta-analysis showed that maltreated children demonstrated consistently poorer language skills with respect to receptive vocabulary (k = 19; standardized mean difference [SMD] = .463; 95% confidence interval [CI; .293, .634]; p < .001), expressive language (k = 4; SMD =.860; 95% CI [.557, 1.163]; p < .001), and receptive language (k = 9; SMD =.528; 95% CI [.220, .837]; p < .001).Together, these results indicate a reliable association between child maltreatment and poor language skills.


publication date

  • 2015