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Child Abuse

Effects of Teenage Child abuse

03/03/2006

Question:

A girl is emotionally abused ages 13 through 16 years old of age. What will happen to her when she grows up?

Answer:

For adults, the effects from childhood emotional abuse will likely be impacted by how frequently the abuse occurred, the type of emotional abuse, the extremeness of the events, and the length of time that the individual was exposed to the abusive situation. We cannot say whether a specific individual will have problems related to childhood emotional abuse.

According to studies, the primary long-term side effects of emotional abuse as an adult are decreased self-esteem, having poor adaptation skills to adult life, risk of psychiatric disorders, sexual difficulties (1) substance abuse (2), physical aggression, delinquency, and interpersonal problems (3). In one study, an increased risk of suicide was also discussed.

Individual support should include counseling and psychiatric therapy. There is no specific data available regarding the outcomes for these interventions.

Further information regarding the topic of emotional abuse, you may refer to www.preventchildabuse.com/.

References:

(1) Mullen PE; Martin JL; Anderson JC; Romans SE; Herbison GP. The long-term impact of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children: a community study. Child Abuse and Neglect. 1996; 20(1):7-21.

(2) Campo, AT, Rhoner, RP. Relationships between perceived parental acceptance-rejection, psychological adjustment, and substance abuse among young adults. Child Abuse and Neglect. 1992; 16:429-40

(3) Vissing, YM, Straus, MA, Gelles, RJ, Harrop, JW. Verbal aggression by parents and psychological problems of children. Child Abuse and Neglect. 1991;15:223-38.

Barbara Knox, MD

For more information:

Go to the Child Abuse health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati