• Adverse Childhood Experiences Study

    This study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. Read More
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Costs of Ignoring Child Maltreatment

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If a survivor of child sexual abuse has not been in therapy or been helped along the way to cope with his/her abuse history, there is a range of effects that stem from the abuse. Depending upon each individual survivor’s trauma history, the following list provides the common effects many survivors must deal with as a result of their abuse:1

  • Anxiety
  • Complex PTSD
  • Dissociation
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Impaired self-capacities
  • Impaired "self" and other boundaries
  • Interpersonal and relational difficulties
  • Parenting difficulties
  • Memory impairment
  • Personality Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Dirsorder (PTSD)
  • Re-victimization
  • Self-blame
  • Self-harm including suicidality
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Somatization (conversion of anxiety into physical symptoms)
  • Substance use/abuse

It is important to understand that these effects are the result of a young child or teenager adapting to the unrelenting and out-of-control abuse by his/her parent(s). They were developed to make some sense of the world and to continue to function the best way they knew how considering the amount of stress they had experienced. These coping skills were developed when the child had few resources or options, and they kept the survivor alive. The work is to find more healthy ways of coping with life stressors as they recover from their abuse.

1“Guidelines for Therapists Working with Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse,” Kim McGregor, 2001

Child Abuse: The Effects and Impact

  • Putting Isolation on Ice +

    “I’m all alone and nobody understands me or what I’m going through.”  As an adult survivor of child abuse and Read More
  • Adult Survivors' Attachment Styles +

    Children are born with needs and feelings. Infants develop internal models from day one as to how they feel about Read More
  • Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development +

    Scientists are beginning to see evidence of altered brain functioning as a result of early abuse and neglect. Read More
  • Long Term Effects of Abuse +

    Some common effects that adult survivors must deal with as a result of their abuse. Read More
  • Sibling Incest +

    One of the deepest held secrets in families is siblings incest. It is not as uncommon as you might think. Read More
  • Invalidation as A Form of Abuse +

    Telling children to "do as I say" may work temporarily when you're frustrated, but what does it really teach them. Read More
  • Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome +

    A theory developed by Dr. Summit that helps to explain how children interpret their abuse and cope with it. Read More
  • Cycle of Child Abuse Trauma +

    Diane Champé explains her theory about how traumatic reactions from childhood abuse become pervasive into adult functioning, often times without Read More
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Theories of Child Abuse

  • Social Learning Theory +

    According to this theory, behavior is learned through two methods: We either learn by being rewarded for our actions (instrumental Read More
  • Attachment Theory +

    Attachment theorists believe humans develop behaviors as a result of how their caregivers nurture them. According to attachment theory, the Read More
  • Ecological Theory +

    Ecological theory holds that abuse and neglect result from multiple factors. These are divided into four systems: individual, family, community, Read More
  • Family Systems Theory +

    This theory is similar to ecological theory in that both focus on the entire family unit when assessing the needs Read More
  • Self-Efficacy Theory +

    This theory focuses on how personal characteristics of the child, and especially the parent, influences family functioning. Self-efficacy theory addresses Read More
  • Resilience Theory +

    Historically, child abuse and neglect research and interventions were grounded in the belief that inevitably the victim is damaged by Read More
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