Mental abuse can be worse than sexual or physical abuse for kids

Posted on October 10, 2014

Although childhood emotional abuse is rarely addressed by clinicians, new research suggests psychological abuse among children may lead to more problems than sexual or physical abuse.

Researchers used a national data set of childhood traumatic stress to analyze data from 5,616 youths with lifetime histories of one or more of three types of abuse.

Investigators discovered children who had been psychologically abused suffered from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and suicidality.

An important discovery was that the residual trauma after psychological abuse occurred at the same rate, or in some cases, at a greater rate than children who were physically or sexually abused.

Conditions such as depression, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, attachment problems, and substance abuse occurred more often after psychological maltreatment, than physical or sexual abuse.

Child protective service case workers may have a harder time recognizing and substantiating emotional neglect and abuse because there are no physical wounds. Also, psychological abuse isn’t considered a serious social taboo like physical and sexual child abuse. Public awareness initiatives are needed to help people understand just how harmful psychological maltreatment is for children and adolescents.

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Source material from Psych Central

Mental Health News