This study examined relationships between various measures of the severity of child maltreatment and expenditures on psychotropic drugs among children in the welfare system.
Child participants (N=4,453) in the first National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) were linked to their Medicaid claims from 36 states. Three specifications for severity of maltreatment were developed. A two-part regression of logistic and generalized linear models of expenditures on psychotropic medications was estimated for each specification.
Physically abused children had higher odds (odds ratio [OR]=1.34) and neglected children had lower odds (OR=.76) of incurring psychotropic drug expenditures. Children who experienced the most severe level of harm had higher odds (OR=1.33) of medication use, compared with children without appreciable harm. No maltreatment specifications were associated with increased expenditures on psychotropic drugs.
The magnitude of maltreatment affected odds of use of psychotropic drugs but had no effect on Medicaid expenditures for these drugs.