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The long-term consequences of child maltreatment for mental and physical health are becoming well established. However, recent data suggest that valid information about actual exposure of a child to maltreatment is best ascertained contemporaneously, not through retrospective reports of maltreatment by adults. Thus, additional progress in this field will require drawing as much information as possible from existing cohort studies begun in childhood and following their subjects well into adult life. At present, interaction and collaboration among investigators heading these cohort studies is informal, infrequent and inadequate to achieve major advances. The coordination between human cohorts and highly informative animal cohorts, particularly non-human primates that have been experimentally assigned to rearing conditions, are even more minimal.

Thus, the goal of this conference is to bring together researchers on human and non-human primate maltreatment who head longitudinal cohorts that have measures of childhood maltreatment and adult health outcomes. We will explore the most effective strategies for using ongoing studies of human and nonhuman primate cohorts to develop a set of achievable goals and strategies for testing the replicability of the associations between early child maltreatment and adult health and to take major steps towards causal analysis. The conference will outline methods for cross cohort studies to address questions that cannot be answered using smaller samples from specific geographic regions. The conference will focus on several important issues to cross cohort study: [1] seeking harmonization of measure of childhood maltreatment; [2] selecting a focus on health outcomes that have been measured across cohorts; and [3] seeking a unified strategy for exploring confounds, covariates and moderating factors.

The format for the conference will include: [1] short talks by leaders in the field of longitudinal study of child maltreatment and health and [2] moderated discussion following these talks, some of which will include opportunities for those attending online. Day 2 of the conference will include workshops focused on developing guidelines for the field in cross cohort harmonization and analysis related to the following topics:

  • causal analysis
  • recovery from maltreatment
  • psychological and biological processes that link maltreatment to health outcomes
  • the impact of social context on developmental pathways subsequent to maltreatment

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Conferences and Symposia