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Journal Article


Platt JM, McLaughlin KA, Luedtke AR, Ahern J, Kaufman AS, Keyes KM. Am. J. Epidemiol. 2018; 187(7): 1456-1466.


(Copyright © 2018, Oxford University Press)






Many studies have shown inverse associations between childhood adversity and intelligence, although most are based on small clinical samples and fail to account for the effects of multiple co-occurring adversities. Using data from the 2001-2004 National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement, a cross-sectional US population study of adolescents aged 13-18 years (n = 10,073), we examined the associations between 11 childhood adversities and intelligence, using targeted maximum likelihood estimation. Targeted maximum likelihood estimation incorporates machine learning to identify the relationships between exposures and outcomes without overfitting, including interactions and nonlinearity. The nonverbal score from the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test was used as a standardized measure of fluid reasoning. Childhood adversities were grouped into deprivation and threat types based on recent conceptual models. Adjusted marginal mean differences compared the mean intelligence score if all adolescents experienced each adversity to the mean in the absence of the adversity. The largest associations were observed for deprivation-type experiences, including poverty and low parental education, which were related to reduced intelligence. Although lower in magnitude, threat events related to intelligence included physical abuse and witnessing domestic violence. Violence prevention and poverty-reduction measures would likely improve childhood cognitive outcomes.

Language: en


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