Maltreatment can influence normative development and negatively impact emotional, behavioral, and social functioning in youth. As a result, it is not surprising that maltreated youth, as compared to non-maltreated youth, tend to underperform academically. Research on the academic performance of maltreated youth has increased over the last decade and several review papers have been published in this area. While the conclusions of these review articles have been that maltreated youth are at greater risk for academic deficits as compared to their non-maltreated peers, there are several conflicting findings within the literature that make it difficult to determine if or to what extent maltreated youth may demonstrate academic difficulty. Using a multilevel, structural equation model meta-analysis technique, the current study sought to provide a quantitative synthesis of the literature by examining the mean difference between maltreated and non-maltreated youth on measures of academic performance. Moreover, the current study also examined group differences between academic subject and maltreatment type. A total of 72 effect sizes were extracted from 32 studies that met inclusion criteria. Results demonstrated an overall negative, medium effect size, such that maltreated youth tended to perform slightly greater than half a standard deviation below non-maltreated youth on measures of academic performance. Moderation analyses suggest deficits may be greater on measures of general academic performance, as compared to language arts measures. No differences were observed for maltreatment type. These findings highlight the need for increased focus on academic difficulties among maltreated youth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health