Effects of Child Abuse

Apr 15, 2016
by: AlysaB

My research on EBSCO resulted in both a surplus of information as well as a surplus of confusion. Interestingly, most of the sources provided on my topic, whether or not being abused as a child makes it more likely to be an abuser as a parent, were scientific reports on studies. As such, the more I researched, the more I realized how open ended my topic can be. The issue with psychological research such as this is that human beings do not act uniformly. Results can change depending on the person, and the best you can do is look for trends. Sometimes, trends across research can vary simply because some research groups behave differently than others, despite similarity in background. People make really crummy data points, in other words.

As such, I found a couple of very interesting articles with well cited sources, data tables, and solid experimental methodology. However they all contradict either each other or any of the other sources I’ve found in one way or another.
For instance, most of my research up until now had viewed victims of Child Physical Abuse (CPA) and Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) with a positive outlook provided that they could receive therapy and take correctional classes.
However, in an article written by Graham Music, a child psychotherapist, he describes cases where children who have suffered significant trauma act coldly, and even brutally towards others. He hypothesizes that children who are abused for a certain amount of time, and who miss a certain age window in therapy, will begin to lose their ability to empathize with others, their desire to act altruistically, and even their sense of morality, or right and wrong. Such children are far more likely to become abusers in adulthood. Unfortunately, Music also hinted that some children are too far gone to become completely well again.

In another study,”The Effects of Child Abuse and Exposure to Domestic Violence on Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems.” researchers discussed how children who witnessed domestic violence were more likely to have been abused themselves. In this case they studied whether children who were exposed to one or the other, or both, had a higher chance of developing internal or external behavioral issues . They concluded that those exposed to one or the other didn’t demonstrate a significant enough difference in behavior than children in the non-violence control group to draw a conclusion. However, children who had ”dual exposure” were 187% more likely to have internalizing behavioral issues than children who were not exposed at all. Children between the ages of 4 and 9 were also at a higher risk of demonstrating external behavioral issues. (External behavior being something like: aggression/destructive tendencies, versus internal behavior being depression or self harm).

One thing that can derived from this research with certainty is that abuse greatly damages the mentality of children. Whether or not this damage translates into a future abuser will require me to look further into the issue and dissect the research I already have more thoroughly.


Great Analysis!

Submitted by alecmalouf on Fri, 2016-05-06 02:52.

I really like how you did not just believe everything you found right away on your searches. It is very evident that you objectively analyze all of your sources and compare them to each other so that you can really determine what information is credible, and what you can use for your research paper! Great job Alysa!