Emotional child abuse may be just as bad as physical harm

Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/19/us-health-childabuse-emotional-idUSKCN0SD2C720151019#bI8AqhGQ7SbpE7rp.99

When it comes to psychological and behavioral health, both physical and emotional abuse can be equally damaging to children, a new study suggests.

Even though doctors and parents often believe physical or sexual abuse is more harmful than emotional mistreatment or neglect, the study found children suffered similar problems regardless of the type of maltreatment endured, researchers report in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

“The abused children had all types of problems, from anxiety and depression to rule-breaking and aggression,” lead study author David Vachon, of McGill University in Montreal, said by email.

His team was surprised, he said, that “different types of abuse had similar consequences; physically abused children and emotionally abused children had very similar problems.”

To compare the impact of different forms of child abuse on mental health, Vachon and colleagues studied almost 2,300 kids who attended a summer camp for low-income children between 1986 and 2012.

Roughly 1,200 children – slightly more than half – had experienced maltreatment.

Campers were assigned to groups of children their age, with about half the kids in each group having a history of maltreatment. The kids didn’t know which of their fellow campers had experienced abuse.

Counselors and other campers assessed each child’s behavior during camp, and every kid also completed a self-evaluation.

Overall, children with a history of abuse and neglect had much higher rates of depression, withdrawal, anxiety, and neuroticism than campers who hadn’t been mistreated.

This difference held true for kids who were victims of all types of abuse, including neglect as well as physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment.

The effect was most profound for children who suffered from all four types of abuse, or from the most severe forms of maltreatment.

Results were similar for boys and girls and across racial groups.

Shortcomings of the study include its reliance on official documentation of abuse and the lack of data on psychological disorders children may have had prior to experiencing maltreatment, the authors acknowledge.

Even so, the psychological and behavioral effects of abuse may be similar because both physical and emotional mistreatment – whether it happens within a family or among peers – can have common elements, said Dr. William Copeland, a psychiatry researcher at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

“This study is about righting a longstanding error and prejudice about the differences between these common childhood adversities,” Copeland, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“It suggests that whether we are talking about prevention, screening or treatment, our notions of childhood mistreatment need to be broader and more holistic than they have been,” Copeland added. “There are no hierarchies when it comes to child maltreatment.”
Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/19/us-health-childabuse-emotional-idUSKCN0SD2C720151019#bI8AqhGQ7SbpE7rp.99

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Don’t blame me for my aggression.

Should an individual be held accountable for aggressively responding to situation in life? Or, to what degree should they be held accountable? Should we look at other factors when making judgements in this matter?

Little two year old Jake, throws a toy at the face of his six month old brother, scratching him in the process. Merry, a sexually abused teenage girl, joined a gang and finally felt empowered enough to confront her abuser. In the process of doing so, stabs him several times about the body and is arrested by local authorities.

Should these individuals be blamed or held accountable for these actions?

For some persons, anger is viewed as an instinct, and though it is triggered by a hostile stimulus, has a biological component that may be hormonal or genetic.

Then there are others with the view, that aggression is linked to frustration. Suggesting that there is an inability to cope or find appropriate responses to situations presented in life.

And there is yet another view, that aggression has its roots in social learning. As such, the view here is, anger—being an emotional response to annoyance—displays itself in an individual, based on how others in the community address particular issues.

For example:

1. Biological—our adrenaline chemical acts on the body to influence the fight or flight response.
2. Frustration—not always we are able to cope with situations presented to us. For instance, due to limited knowledge, of appropriate coping strategies.
3. Social learning—we take up information from or environment, as to how we ought to respond to a given situation. So this learning comes from culture, family, close associates etc.
It is my belief that all three play individual parts in human aggression.

What is your perspective on human aggression?