Child Protection Evidence - Teenage neglect

Child Protection Evidence is a resource available for clinicians across the UK and internationally to inform clinical practice, child protection procedures and professional and expert opinion in the legal system. This review evaluates the literature on teenage neglect.

Review updated: March 2014 

About the review

The systematic review evaluates the scientific literature on teenage neglect published up until March 2014.

It aims to answer the following clinical question: 

  • What are the self-reported or self-rated features of a child (13-17 completed years) currently experiencing neglect and/or emotional maltreatment in OECD countries?

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse, but frequently goes unrecognised in the adolescent population.

This review studies the effects of teenage neglect by exploring the following; emotional features, interpersonal relationships, general health and wellbeing and school engagement to identify the features of teenage neglect.  

The implications for practice and research, and other useful references are included in the review.

Key findings

  • Although neglect and emotional maltreatment in adolescents is often under-recognised, it is clear that it has a significant impact on young peoples’ emotional state, well-being and interactions with others.
  • The level of self-reported features identified in this review highlights the importance of asking adolescents themselves about their experiences and problems they may be experiencing, including suicidal ideation, dating violence, etc.
  • It is evident that emotional maltreatment in adolescents can be particularly harmful, although it is potentially misinterpreted when the children exhibit aggression, delinquency and anti-social behaviour.

Systematic review on Teenage Neglect (PDF, 263KB, 22 Pages)


Disclaimer: This is a summary of the systematic review findings up to the date of our most recent literature search. If you have a specific clinical case, we strongly recommend you read all of the relevant references as cited and look for additional material published outside our search dates.

Original reviews and content © Cardiff University, funded by NSPCC
Published by RCPCH July 2017

While the format of each review has been revised to fit the style of the College and amalgamated into a comprehensive document, the content remains unchanged until reviewed and new evidence is identified and added to the evidence-base. Updated content will be indicated on individual review pages.