Cognitive and emotional processes were examined in maltreated children with a history of physical abuse (n = 76), children with a history of maltreatment other than physical abuse (i.e., sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional maltreatment; n = 91), and a group of non-maltreated comparison children (N = 100). Physical abuse was associated with errors in cue interpretation, easy access to aggressive responses to conflict, and poor emotion regulation. In turn, maladaptive cognitive and emotional processes made unique contributions to explaining the relationship between physical abuse and peer nominations of aggression and disruptive behavior. Maltreated children who had not been physically abused evidenced a trend toward cognitive and emotional maladaptation, but only poor emotion regulation accounted for aggression and disruptive behavior in these children. The findings emphasize the importance of considering multiple domains of development in efforts to understand how varying forms of child maltreatment contribute to later maladjustment.
- Child maltreatment
- Emotion regulation
- Social information processing