WHAT are the LONG-TERM (REALLY LONG-TERM) EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE, and HOW has the PANDEMIC IMPACTED THIS?
The potential long-term risks of child abuse are lethal, literally. Such are the findings of a long-term study that began with data from 1958 ( http://www.endthefear.co.uk/2021/09/27/report-bmj-open-study-links-child-abuse-neglect-to-early-death-in-adulthood/ ).
More specifically, sexual or physical abuse victims as children is more likely to die prematurely as adults. Compared to those who did not experience sexual abuse, people who were sexually abused before the age of 16 were 2.6 times more at risk of dying between the ages of 45 and 58 (middle age). Physical abuse before the age of 16 increased the risk by 1.7 times. Neglect increased the risk by 1.4 times.
In a similar vein, socioeconomic disadvantage early in life, increased the risk by 1.9 times. Disadvantage was defined as a father who was employed in manual labor. The study was based on 9,310 people born in 1958, as part of a National Child Development Study in the U.K. Smoking tobacco was highly correlated for these abuse victims, or those who experienced socioeconomic disadvantage. It is possible that tobacco use was one way these people attempted to reduce their anxiety, depression and psychological pain.
As noted in previous blogs, the COVID 19 pandemic has increased childhood experiences of abuse, making these findings even more relevant. Early intervention to prevent abuse, and provide therapy as soon as possible afterwards is even more important as a result.
Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Torrance, CA. A member of the Independent Psychotherapy Network, he can be reached at 310 539-2772 or firstname.lastname@example.org Telehealth or in-person sessions are available.
Copyright 2021 by Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.