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Understanding Adolescent Neglect: Troubled Teens

A study of the links between parenting and adolescent neglect

Child neglect has become topical in recent years with a burgeoning of research studies and the development of new policy and practice initiatives.

This may be because neglect continues to be the main type of maltreatment recorded in official data on safeguarding and because it leads to negative outcomes, sometimes being the precursor of serious harm. It may be because neglect continues to be regarded as being complex and intractable, sometimes not identified by professionals, and often not adequately responded to.

This fresh interest in neglect has centred on young children, driven by a concern that poor parental care during the early years will inevitably lead to poor outcomes for individuals and for society in general. But do we fully understand what young people need from their parents during adolescence, and what constitutes ‘adolescent neglect’? And how harmful is neglect during adolescence? Will it have a long term impact or are young people resilient enough to be able to make the transition to adulthood relatively unscathed?

This report is about the first project in a new research programme which will explore these and other issues to bring adolescence on to the agenda and re-balance the debate on neglect.