University of Oulu

Ylitervo, L., Veijola, J., & Halt, A. (2023). Emotional neglect and parents’ adverse childhood events. European Psychiatry, 66(1), E47. doi:10.1192/j.eurpsy.2023.2420

Emotional neglect and parents’ adverse childhood events

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Author: Ylitervo, Laura1,2,3; Veijola, Juha1,2,3; Halt, Anu-Helmi1,2,3
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Clinical Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Centre Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-28


Introduction: Emotional neglect means that the child’s emotional and developmental needs are not fulfilled by the parents or other caregivers. Adverse childhood events (ACEs) are a risk factor for mental health problems and impaired parenting skills. The objective here was to examine whether parents’ ACEs increase the child’s risk of experiencing emotional neglect.

Methods: The participants in the present study were members of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (NFBC1986). Emotional neglect experiences were measured in 190 members of this cohort by means of the Trauma and Distress Scale (TADS), and ACEs in both parents were measured with a specific questionnaire. A linear regression model was used to examine the association between parents’ ACEs and the children’s emotional neglect scores.

Results: The children’s mean emotional neglect score was 8.11 on a scale from 5 to 25. There was no significant difference between males (mean 8.01) and females (mean 8.19). Only father’s ACEs were associated with child’s emotional neglect score. In the linear regression model, the children’s emotional neglect scores increased by 0.3 points for father’s ACE.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that father’s ACEs may increase the child’s risk of experiencing emotional neglect. It seems that childhood adversities are transferred from parents to children, but larger samples would be needed to confirm these findings.

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Series: European psychiatry
ISSN: 0924-9338
ISSN-E: 1778-3585
ISSN-L: 0924-9338
Volume: 66
Issue: 1
Article number: e47
DOI: 10.1192/j.eurpsy.2023.2420
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 project was supported by the EU QLG1-CT-2000-01643 (EUROBLCS; Grant No. E51560), NorFA (Grant Nos. 731, 20056, and 30167), and USA/NIH 2000 G DF682 (Grant No. 50945). A.-H.H. has received funding from the Terttu Foundation. The sources of funding had no role in the design or conduct of the study, the collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data, the preparation, review or approval of the manuscript, or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Copyright information: © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Psychiatric Association. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.