A meta-analysis of cross sectional studies investigating language in maltreated children

Jarrad A G Lum, Martine Powell, Lydia Timms, Pamela Snow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In this review article, meta-analysis was used to summarize research investigating language skills in maltreated children. Method: 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. Results: 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). Conclusion: Together, these results indicate a reliable association between child maltreatment and poor language skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-976
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

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