A study was carried out by Perez and Wisdom (1994) that examined the effects of childhood trauma on educational achievement.
The study identified a group of eleven-year-old children who had experienced childhood abuse or neglect.
Twenty years after identifying this group the researchers gave these same individuals an I.Q. test and compared their results with those of a control group (individuals of the same social class, age, sex, and race but who had NOT experienced abuse or neglect in childhood).
RESULTS FOR I.Q. TEST :
It was found that :
THE GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD EXPERIENCED CHILDHOOD ABUSE / NEGLECT HAD SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER I.Q.s THAN THOSE IN THE CONTROL GROUP.
Also, as part of this same study, the reading ability of the group of individuals who had suffered childhood trauma was compared to the reading ability of those in the control group.
RESULTS FOR READING ABILITY :
THE GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD EXPERIENCED CHILDHOOD ABUSE / NEGLECT HAD SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER READING ABILITY THAN THOSE IN THE CONTROL GROUP.
(In fact, the individuals who had suffered childhood abuse/neglect had an average reading ability of a child in sixth grade, despite the fact that they were, at the time of testing, thirty-one years of age.)
Other Findings Of The Study :
Significantly more individuals who had suffered childhood abuse/trauma did not complete high school compared to individuals from the control; this is demonstrated by the figures provided below :
Individuals Who Had Suffered Childhood Abuse/Neglect :
- 58℅ did not complete high school
Individuals From The Control Group:
- 34℅ did not complete high school
A more recent study, conducted by Porche et al (2011) also supports the hypothesis that the experience of childhood trauma adversely affects academic performance. This study involved over 2500 young people aged between twenty-one and twenty-nine years and looked at :
- the effects of witnessing domestic violence as a child on educational achievement
- the effects of having been physically abused as a child on educational achievement
- 31℅ of those individuals who had experienced childhood physical abuse before the age of sixteen dropped out of school
- 26℅ of those individuals who had witnessed domestic violence before the age of sixteen dropped out of school
COMPARED TO :
- 13℅ of those individuals who had NOT experienced childhood trauma dropped out of school
RECOMMENDED (EXTERNAL) LINK: 5 ways to help students affected by trauma.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).