Experiencing abuse and neglect in childhood can lead to adverse outcomes in adulthood. The purpose of this blog is to indicate the potential long-term effects of child abuse and neglect that may extend into adulthood.
Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect The consequences of maltreatment can be devastating. For over 30 years, clinicians have described the effects of child abuse and neglect on the physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral development of children.
Physical consequences range from minor injuries to severe brain damage and even death.
Psychological consequences range from chronic low self-esteem to severe dissociative states. The cognitive effects of abuse range from attentional problems and learning disorders to severe organic brain syndromes. Behaviorally, the consequences of abuse range from poor peer relations all the way to extraordinarily violent behaviors.
Thus, the consequences of abuse and neglect affect the victims themselves and the society in which they live. Many complexities challenge our understanding of factors and relationships that exacerbate or mitigate the consequences of abusive experiences. The majority of children who are abused do not show signs of extreme disturbance.
Research has suggested a relationship between child maltreatment and a variety of short- and long-term consequences, but considerable uncertainty and debate remain about the effects of child victimization on children, adolescents, and adults.
The relationship between the causes and consequences of child maltreatment is particularly Child abuse effects and outcomes, since some factors such as low intelligence in the child may help stimulate abusive behavior by the parent or caretaker, but low intelligence can also be a consequence of abusive experiences in early childhood.
The scientific study of child maltreatment and its consequences is in its Page Share Cite Suggested Citation: Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect.
The National Academies Press.
Until recently, research on the consequences of physical and sexual child abuse and neglect has been based primarily on retrospective studies of adolescents or adults that are subject to clinical bias and inaccurate recall Aber and Cicchetti, Research on the consequences of abuse is also challenged by the hidden nature of much abuse and because these experiences may not come to anyone's attention until years after they occur.
Maltreatment often occurs in the presence of multiple problems within a family or social environment, including poverty, violence, substance abuse, and unemployment.
Distinguishing consequences that are associated directly with the experience of child maltreatment itself rather than other social disorders is a daunting task for the research investigator. Research on the consequences of child maltreatment is also uneven and, as a result, we do not yet understand the consequences on children of particular types or multiple forms of abuse.
In recent years, much attention has been focused on the consequences of child sexual abuse, especially the adolescent and adult sexual behavior of the victim.
Less attention has been given to the short- and long-term consequences of child neglect and physical abuse. Only recently has public awareness expanded to include recognition of the psychological consequences that stem from even the most subtle forms of emotional maltreatment.
Some experts now contend that the psychological or emotional components of abuse and neglect are the factor most responsible for the destructive consequences of all types of maltreatment Brassard et al.
Nor do we yet know the importance of the particular timing, intensity, and context of abuse on the outcome. Factors such as the age and developmental status of the child may influence the outcomes of maltreatment experiences.
Effects that appear at only one life stage, whether immediately following the maltreatment or later, are often different from those that persist throughout life. What may appear to be adaptive or functional at one point in development avoiding an abusive parent or desensitizing oneself against feelings may later compromise the person's ability to draw on and respond to personal relationships in an adaptive and flexible way.
Given the wide variations reported in the research literature, certain intrinsic strengths and vulnerabilities within a child and the child's environment may affect the extent to which abuse will have adverse consequences.
Disordered patterns of adaptation may lie dormant, only to appear during times of stress or in conjunction with particular circumstances Sroufe and Rutter, Little research has focused on gender differences in the consequences of child abuse and neglect.
Early clinical reports of violence primarily describe violent male adolescents, although Widom's b delinquency analysis had higher rates of arrests for violence of abused and neglected Page Share Cite Suggested Citation: Studies of sexual promiscuity and teenage pregnancy have primarily included females who were sexually abused.
Few studies have found consistent differences in the reaction of boys and girls to molestation, although one popular report found boys to have more externalizing and girls to have more internalizing symptoms Friedrich et al.
The lack of attention to gender differences may result from the small number of male victims of sexual abuse in most studies and lower rates of reporting of childhood sexual abuse in males.
This chapter is organized in a developmental framework. It begins with a description of what is known about the childhood consequences of child maltreatment, followed by a discussion of what is known about the consequences of abuse and neglect in adolescence and adulthood.
A discussion of labeling effects, considering the issues of stigma, bias, and discriminatory treatment, is followed by an examination of a number of potential protective factors. The chapter concludes with recommendations for research.
Childhood Medical and Physiological Consequences Physical abuse in infants and young children can lead to brain dysfunction Dykes, and sometimes death. Most fatality victims of abuse and neglect are under age 5. However, the number of child deaths caused by abuse and neglect may actually be much higher, since cause of death is often misclassified in child fatality reports McClain et al.
A child does not need to be struck on the head to sustain brain injuries. Dykes has indicated that infants who are shaken vigorously by the extremities or shoulders may sustain intracranial and intraocular bleeding with no sign of external head trauma.Child physical abuse and neglect both continue to be associated with significant negative outcomes into late adolescence and adulthood, with few differences in outcomes noted between the two forms of maltreatment over time (with the exception of recent follow-up results from Cohen et al., ).
For instance, some researchers suggest that poor health outcomes in adult survivors of child abuse and neglect could be due to the direct effects of physical abuse in childhood, the impact early life stress has on the immune system or to the greater propensity for adult survivors to engage in high-risk behaviours (e.g., smoking, alcohol abuse.
transmitted disease. Victims of child sexual abuse also are at a higher risk for rape in adulthood, and the rate of risk increases according to the severity of the child sexual abuse experience(s) (Felitti & Anda, ; Messman-Morre, Walsh, & DiLillo, ).
A complete list of child abuse statistics in the united states. The most astonishing stat is annually over 3 million children are victims of child abuse. Child Abuse is defined as “endangerment to a child inflicted by another person, usually the caregiver” Leiter 1 and includes physical, sexual, emotional abuse, and neglect.
Child abuse can be brought on by any one at any time. The purpose of this paper is to overview the four previously stated. The relationship between homelessness and adult survivors of abuse and neglect may also be connected to other adverse outcomes linked to child abuse and neglect such as substance abuse problems, mental health problems and .