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Adverse Consequences of Child Abuse

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Child abuse goes on around the world and is devastating for the youth it affects. Child abuse can include physical, sexual as well as emotional and verbal abuse. One of the many concerns about child abuse is that it leads to mental issues throughout one’s life. The main information about different forms of abuse like mental, physical and sexual as well as verbal is that there are big time after effects and physical well-being problems. This paper will discuss adverse consequences, estimates of the extent of the problem, and limitations/weaknesses pertaining to the data. Children that are abused experience major physical health consequences, psychological consequences and behavioral consequences because the trauma is that bad and becomes evident when dealing with society.

People that have been abused are more likely to have a tendency towards dangerous behaviors, promiscuity, problems with authority, and other problems with the law (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). The trauma of abuse is hard to recover from and can drive one to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). Going through anything that causes PTSD causes one to exhibit non-normal, negative habits pertaining to how they deal with the stresses of life. It can cause one to be aggressive towards others, shut down, have a nervous breakdown and exhibit many other forms of PTSD (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). People that have been through trauma may relive their stressful past and may not be able to function properly just due to something someone says to them because it reminds them of the person that caused them stress; these are ongoing issues. Drug addicts live a hard life, often just getting through the day without the urge to use multiple times runs the course of their day (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018).

This does not happen overnight and can go on for weeks, months, or years depending upon the situation and how badly the addiction is. Children of drug addicts live life on the edge not knowing how their parents are going to treat them, where their parents are mentally during the day, or what mood they might be in and how this might affect them (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018). Drugs alter a person’s perception of reality thus affecting how one treats the one around them like the children of drug addicts. Yelling, punching, hitting, and throwing can often occur in a household where the parents are using especially if they are coming off a substance (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018). This can result in serious physical and/or psychological injuries and/or death. Abusive parents are more likely to physically abuse, sexually abuse, emotionally abuse or neglect their children (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018). This is what can cause mental problems, stress that can last a lifetime, and even psychiatric disorders among these distressed youth. Physical abuse includes actions against an individual. Emotional abuse includes the failure of one to properly engage respectful and engage in supportive communication. Neglect involves not providing a safe nurturing environment. Society is adversely affected by children that have been abused in many ways. Youth that have been abused are more likely to act out causing fights in schools, have violent behavior, destructive actions towards themselves or others also addiction and criminal/delinquent activity (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013).

Persons that have been abused are more likely to repeat the cycle of emotional, physical, and any other form of abuse (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013). The mind games that can go on with abusive individuals can be detrimental towards their loved ones and anyone they come into contact with (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018). Abused children are more likely to have problems in school, in jobs, and properly engaging in society (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018). They are more likely to use drugs and can cause harm to others by trying to get them to engage in drug use, crime, and addiction causing health issues and sometimes death (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018).

Estimates of the Extent of the Problem

In the year of 2015, the United States found that 679,569 children underwent child abuse or were neglected (National Statistics on Child Abuse, 2015). In 2015, an estimated 1,670 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States (National Statistics on Child Abuse, 2015) Boys had a higher child fatality rate than girls (2. 87 boys & 2. 11 girls per 100,000) (National Statistics on Child Abuse, 2015). Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study is linked with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal clinic in San Diego, California. They did a study on the adverse effects of child abuse. This is the biggest continuing study of the link between adolescence abuse and adult health and well-being outcomes. Information is taken from at least 17,000 participants that are experiencing neglect or abuse.

Another study conducted was the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). This study is based on the ways abuse and neglect happens. The size and variants of the study were 1,354 youth from five distinct geographical areas allowing it to stand on its own and with other studies. The last study conducted was The National Survey of Child and Adolescence Well-Being (NSCAW). This study focuses particularly on administration on youth and families that entails the child welfare system and the experiences of children and their families who interact with each other. Physical health consequences can have a number of repercussions such as abusive head trauma, impaired brain development and poor physical health. “NSCAW researchers found that, at some point during the three years following a maltreatment investigation, 28 percent of children had a chronic health condition (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013, p. 3). ” Psychological consequences can be evident when it comes to the following; problems during pregnancy, poor mental and emotional health, cognitive difficulties and social difficulties.

“For difficulties during pregnancy, in 2010 16 percent of the children that entered foster care were less than a year old (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013, p. 4). ” Almost half the infants in foster care who have gone through some sort of abuse maintain a cognitive delay and have a lower IQ. ACE studies have shown that 54 percent of children who suffer from poor mental and emotional health are more likely to be depressed, and 58 percent are suicidal when it comes to women that were sexually abused. For cognitive difficulties, NSCAW researchers proved that youth with a vast majority of abuse were at a higher risk for severe developmental issues, cognitive problems, and grade retention.

According to the second study of the NSCAW, “more than ten percent of school aged children and youth show some risk of cognitive problems or low academic achievement, 43 percent had emotional or behavioral problems and 13 percent had both” (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013, p. 5). Children who undergo social problems are more apt to be antisocial. Parental neglect is also associated with borderline personality disorder; one is more likely to develop an attachment disorder. There are behavioral consequences that result from child abuse. These consequences often cause difficulties during adolescence, juvenile delinquency and adult criminality, alcohol and other drug abuse, as well as abusive behavior. For difficulties during adolescence, “NSCAW data showed that more than half of youth with reports of maltreatment are at greater risk of grade retention, substance abuse, truancy or pregnancy” (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013, p. 5). Through data, research showed that children that have gone through abuse are more apt to become involved in criminal activities. On the other hand, research on alcohol and other drug abuse shows that when a child is abused or neglected they are more likely to smoke use drugs or drink. “Male children with an ACE score of 6 or more had an increased likelihood of more than 4,000 percent to use intravenous drugs later in life” (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013, p. 6).

Limitations/Weaknesses of the Data

There are quite a few limitations/weaknesses of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. One limitation is that many cases of child abuse, neglect, and maltreatment are not reported to law enforcement or social welfare authorities. Another limitation pertaining to Adverse Childhood Experiences is that it is measured by self-reports of current events in the 30 years preceding the event and respondents recall is limited. Sometimes questions came up as to whether there was a less concentrated study of events such as the participant did not experience love and this would therefore cause more personal interpretation. The sensitive nature of the questions and the participant’s experience of the socially unacceptable actions of responding to these questions causes an important limitation. There may be a risk of recollection bias due to the time loss in between the events that are being analyzed (Adverse Childhood Experiences, 2010). There also might be the questions of less objective recall information when pertaining to the ACE study. Questions involving the participants may also have preferred bias because of the individual’s interpretations. Respondents may not admit to being abused, neglected, or maltreated; particularly when trauma is involved. The Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) has limitations that should be looked at when analyzing the results.

Limitations stems from the nature of the study and how long the data group is. The LONGSCAN site specific samples were biased mostly on maltreatment and outcome. Being in the longitudinal study leaves behind room for biased information as participants with higher risk rates of unstable households may be less likely to stay in the study oppose to those in stable households and environments. Lastly, there are limitations/weaknesses within the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW). One limitation is that previous information on children who have experienced abuse is incomplete. Data lacked prior placements, child and caregiver experiences and episodes of maltreatment. Another limitation was that it consisted of some reporter’s biases. “The possibility of acquiring data from a teacher was reduced at many points: caregivers or legal guardians refused to authorize teacher contact, the child school, name and their address information; authorized forms were lost and unusable” (Child Welfare and Child Well-Being, 2010, p. 8-9). Adequate data provided from teachers were incomplete for many researchers.

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