emotional_abuse
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A major study (Spinazzola et al.) on the effects of child maltreatment provides strong evidence that the psychological maltreatment of children is the most harmful form of abuse.

The study analyzed a sample of 5616 young people who had histories of childhood trauma in the form of :

– psychological maltreatment (i.e. emotional abuse / emotional neglect)

– sexual abuse

– physical abuse

Each young person who participated in the study was then assessed on whether or not he/she had experienced particular behavioural problems, symptoms and disorders (12 in all), a list of which I present below :

– substance abuse

– alcohol abuse

– other forms of self-harm

– skipping school or daycare

– behaviour problems in the home

criminal activity

attachment problems

– academic problems

– running away

suicidality

– behaviour problems at school

– sexualized behaviours

 

RESULTS OF THE STUDY :

The researchers found that those young people who had a history of psychological maltreatment were more damaged by their adverse experiences (as measured by to what extent they were affected by the above listed behavioural problems, symptoms and disorders) than were those who had suffered physical or sexual abuse.

More specifically, of the above 12 listed behavioural problems, symptoms and disorders, those who had suffered psychological maltreatment were equally likely, or more likely, than those who had suffered physical abuse to have been affected by :

– substance abuse

– alcohol abuse

– other forms of self-harm

– skipping school or daycare

– behaviour problems in the home

criminal activity

attachment problems

– academic problems

– running away

suicidality

– behaviour problems at school

Furthermore, of the above 12 listed behavioural problems, symptoms and disorders, those who had suffered psychological maltreatment were equally likely, or more likely, than those who had suffered sexual abuse to have been affected by :

 – substance abuse

– alcohol abuse

– other forms of self-harm

– skipping school or daycare

– behaviour problems in the home

– criminal activity

attachment problems

– academic problems

– running away

– suicidality

– behaviour problems at school

 

IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY :

In response to the above findings, the authors of the study emphasized the need for it to become a matter of public policy to develop and implement childhood trauma interventions in ways that recognize just what a devastating effect psychological maltreatment in one’s childhood can have upon a person’s quality of life.

They also draw attention to the need for the child welfare system to improve their ability to detect cases of child psychological maltreatment (which frequently occurs ‘under the radar’) so that effective interventions may be implemented.

Other Research:

Research conducted at McGill University by Vachon and colleagues made use of brain scans to show that emotional pain and physical pain activate the same part of the brain suggesting that emotional abuse may have similar adverse effects on the child as physical abuse. Vachon also states that people’s assumption that physical abuse is more damaging to the child than emotional abuse is mistaken. 

RESOURCE:

ESCAPE EMOTIONAL ABUSE | SELF HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).