The causal effect of childhood maltreatment on cognition and (mental) health outcomes
About a third of us have experienced neglect or abuse during childhood, collectively called childhood maltreatment. Childhood maltreatment has been linked to a variety of poor health outcomes, including thinking, learning, and memory. However, these studies have always been correlational and it is unclear if childhood maltreatment causes poor health outcomes. Childhood maltreatment is also linked to other social and familial factors that may also cause poor health outcomes. Therefore, to develop better interventions and support for people who have experienced childhood maltreatment it is important to check if childhood maltreatment causes poor health outcomes. A few previous studies have used genetics to show that being abused and neglected as a child causes some mental health conditions. We wish to use this design to ask if childhood maltreatment causes poor thinking, learning, and memory. We will also explore if childhood maltreatment causes poor physical health. Investigating if there is a causal relationship can help us develop better interventions and support for those who have, sadly, experienced childhood maltreatment.