Life long consequences of child maltreatment

Life long consequences of child maltreatment Lifelong consequences of child maltreatment Introduction Maltreatment of children by their caregivers or parent has become an important public health and social welfare issue. Recently, it has become very common and can cause death, injury, and long-term consequences that have an adverse impact on the child’s life in adulthood, his family, and the society (Berk, 2004). WHO report on child maltreatment prevention indicated more emphasis should be given to achieve the prominence and investment that is given to other serious public-health concerns with lifelong consequences. This paper discusses these long life effects of chid maltreatment.
Education and employment
Research indicates that child maltreatment is associated with long-term deficits in the level of education achievement. Maltreated children have a lower educational achievement than their age mates have, and are most likely to get special education. Maltreatment is related to the decrease in school performance and attendance (Finkelhor et al., 2013). In addition, maltreatment has long-lasting economic consequences for the victims. Most cases of childhood abuse, especially the abused and neglected individuals are in semi-skilled and menial occupation in their adulthood.
Mental health outcomes
Child maltreatment is associated with behavior problems including anxiety, depression, aggression, and acting out. Some behavioral problems that arise later in adolescence are determined by early timing of maltreatment. Cumulative impacts of different types of maltreatment have a moderately increased risk of depression in adolescence and adulthood, which reflect the family context in which maltreatment occurs. Depression is a serious problem, and approximately 25% of maltreated children meet criteria for depression in their 20s. In most cases, the onset of depression begins in childhood, and thus early intervention of these abused and neglected children is crucial.
Additionally, child maltreatment increases the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, which develops after a terrifying event. Symptoms include sleep difficulties, frightening thoughts, and detached feelings. Studies have shown an association between child maltreatment and post-traumatic stress in adults, which can be long lasting (Finkelhor et al., 2013). There is consistent evidence showing relationship between physical abuse and the risk of attempted suicide for young people. The risk of attempted suicide increases with an accumulation of repeated maltreatment, which can be very high in young people.
Aggression, crime, and violence
Child maltreatment not only cause pain and suffering but also increases the risk of becoming aggressive and inflicting pain on others through perpetrating crime and violence. Research indicates that physically abused child has a higher probability to be arrested as a juvenile and as an adult. Similar effects have been reported despite the children having different geographical background. In addition, physical and sexual abuses predict violence in boys and girls. Children who have experienced physical or sexual abuse are more likely to carry a weapon in adolescence because of a perceived need for self-protection.
Child maltreatment is associated with adverse outcomes throughout childhood and into adulthood. The burden on the children and society is significant. Consequences affect the mental health results, education and employment, and increased cases of violence and crime. Due to the related costs, child maltreatment affects not just the child, but family and society as a whole. Therefore, prevention strategies should be implemented before abuse and neglect occur.
Finkelhor, D., Turner, H. A., Shattuck, A., & Hamby, S. L. (2013). Violence, Crime, and Abuse Exposure in a National Sample of Children and Youth: An Update. JAMA Pediatrics, 167(7), 614-621.
Berk, L. E. (2004). Development through the lifespan (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.