We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

National Scope of Child Abuse - Part 2

This is a continuation of statistics as to the impact of child abuse and neglect on millions of children in the United States. The media is flagrantly absent in its coverage about the devastating results of criminal behavior by parents/caretakers in America.

Behavioral, Emotional, and Psychological

  • Cognitive Impairment:
    • Approximately 30% of abused children have some type of language or cognitive impairment, over 50% of abused children have socio-emotional problems, over 22% of abused children have a learning disorder, and approximately 14% of abused children exhibit self-mutilating or other self-destructive behavior.[1]
    • Approximately 6% of children under age 18 receive special education or intervention services related to impaired cognitive functioning.[2]
  • Delinquent, Violent and Other Risk-taking Behaviors: Approximately 20% of abused children are convicted for serious juvenile crime such as theft, auto theft, breaking and entering, burglary, or assault.[3]
  • Depression and Anxiety: A longitudinal study found that 80% of abused young adults demonstrated considerable impairments in functioning which included greater depression and anxiety.[4]
  • Developmental Delays:
    • An estimated 25% of all developmental disabilities are caused by child abuse.[5]
    • More than 50% of the child victims of severe neglect sustain permanent disabilities, including mental retardation and other forms of learning and cognitive disabilities.[6]
  • DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder):
    • DID is not uncommon . In inpatient psychiatric populations, mixed impatient and outpatient groups, and chemical dependency treatment settings, previously undiagnosed DID is found in between 4% and 18.6% of the patients.[7]
    • The average patient had been in the mental health care delivery system for 6.8 years before being accurately diagnosed with DID.[8]
  • Current research shows that DID may affect about 2.5 million or 1 percent of the general population and as many as 5-20% of people in psychiatric hospitals.[9]
  • Dissociative Disorders: Dissociative disorders are considered by many professionals to be common long-term sequelae of child abuse and trauma. Reported rates for physical and sexual abuse range from 60-90%.[10]
  • Eating and Sleeping Disorders:
    • A study examining a possible relation of obesity to sexual abuse showed that 60% of 131 patients seen in a general medical practice who reported a history of sexual abuse as children were 50 pounds or more overweight compared with 28% of a control group.[11]
    • The prevalence of child sexual abuse is high among individuals seeking inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa.[12]
    • Behavioral signs of sexual abuse of children are extreme changes in behavior (loss of appetite, eating disorder, clinginess, withdrawal, aggressiveness, recurrent nightmares, disturbed sleep patterns, or a sudden fear of the dark).[13]
  • Feelings of Shame and Guilt: Victims of sexual abuse frequently experience feelings of shame, guilt, isolation, powerlessness, embarrassment, and inadequacy.[14]
  • Hyperactivity: Emotional abuse and neglect are more common among men and women with ADHD as compared to controls. Sexual abuse and physical neglect are more commonly reported by females with ADHD. Patients with ADHD symptoms have a high probability of childhood abuse.[15]
  • Poor Relationships:
    • Childhood maltreatment is associated with insecure patterns of attachment—characterized by a range of behaviors from excessive dependence on others to being highly guarded. Not surprisingly, these behaviors may prove to be alienating to others, thus threatening the potential for a healthy relationship.[16]
    • Children who are maltreated may have problems developing appropriate social relationships, trust, and attachments.[17]
  • Poor School Performance: Children who experience maltreatment may demonstrate attention deficits, problems with abstract reasoning, decision-making, and lower intelligence quotients that may lead to poor school performance and a need for special education services. [18]
  • Poor Self-Esteem: Emotional and physical abuse have been linked to lying, stealing, low self-esteem, emotional maladjustment, dependency, underachievement, depression, aggression, learning disorders, homicide, and suicide.[19]
  • PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder):
    • People with prior exposure to domestic violence (including physical or sexual abuse) in childhood or adulthood have significantly heightened susceptibility to severe and chronic PTSD following exposure to any type of traumatic event.[20]
    • Roughly 19% of girls and 16% of boys meet the criteria of PTSD, major depressive episode, and substance abuse/dependence.[21]
    • A review of recent studies found that 30% to 59% of women receiving drug abuse treatment have PTSD.[22]
  • Psychosomatic Disorders: The essential mechanism in Conversion Disorder is the “conversion” of an unconscious psychological conflict into a somatic (physical) symptom for the purpose of avoiding severe anxiety. Contributing factors to a Conversion Disorder are a history of childhood deprivation and abuse.[23]
  • Severe Mental Illness: Between 51-98% of public mental health clients diagnosed with severe mental illness have trauma histories,[24] and prevalence rates within substance abuse treatment programs and other social services are similar.[25]
  • Substance Abuse (Alcohol and Drugs):
    • Half of all children (35.6 million) live in a household where a parent or other adult uses tobacco, drinks heavily or uses illicit drugs.[26]
    • Studies show that women in substance abuse treatment programs are significantly more likely to report histories of physical or sexual abuse—especially childhood abuse—than women not in treatment.[27]
    • Teenagers with alcohol and drug problems are 6 to 12 times more likely to have a history of being physically abused and 18 to 21 times more likely to have been sexually abused than those without alcohol and drug problems.[28]
    • State child welfare records show that substance abuse is one of the top two problems exhibited by 81% of reported cases of child abuse and neglect.[29]
  • Suicidal Behavior and Self-Harm: Clients who were sexually victimized as children were over two times more likely to have made at least one suicide attempt in the past than were non-abused clients.[30]


[1] Daro, D. (1993). Child maltreatment research: Implications for program design. In D. Cicchetti & S. L. Toth

(Eds.), Advances in applied developmental psychology: Vol. 8, Child abuse, child development, and social policy

(pp. 331-367).

[2] National Center for Health Statistics Fast Stats: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/disable.htm

[3] McCord, J. (1983). A forty-year perspective on the effects of child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse and Neglect,


[4] Silverman, A.B., et al. The Long-Term Sequelae of Child and Adolescent Abuse: A Longitudinal Community Study. Child Abuse and Neglect 20(8):709-723. August 1996.

[5]Abuse and Neglect of Children with Disabilities, Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D., ARCH National Resource Center for

Respite and Crisis, Sept. 1994, http://www.archrespite.org.

[6] Ibid.

[7]Current Issues in Dissociative Identity Disorder, Richard P. Kluft, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Temple

University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, Bridging Eastern and Western Psychiatry Vol. 1 Num. 1, 2003.

[8] Putnam FW, Guroff JJ, Silberman EK, Baran L, Post RM. The clinical phenomenology of multiple personality

disorder: Review of 100 recent cases. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1986; 47: 285-293.

[9]What is Dissociative Disorder? Sidran 2007.

[10] Anderson, G., Yasenik, L., and Ross, C.A., (1993). Dissociative experiences and disorders among women who

identify themselves as sexual abuse survivors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 17, 677-686.

[11] Sexual Abuse and Women’s Medical Problems, Ami Laws, M.D., Journal of General Internal Medicine,

   Volunteers 8/August 1993.

[12] The impact of childhood sexual abuse in anorexia nervosa. Carter, JC, Bewell C, Blackmore E, Woodside DB.

   Department of Psychiatry, Toronto General Hospital, Child Abuse & Neglect. 2006 March; 30(3): 257-69.

[13] “Recognizing Sexual Abuse of Children: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers,” Ryther Child Center

[14] Courtois, C.A. & Watts, D.L. (1982). Counseling adult women who experienced incest in childhood or

   adolescence. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, January, 275-279.

[15] Retrospective Reports of Childhood Trauma in Adults With ADHD, Julia J. Rucklidge, Deborah L. Brown, Susan

   Crawford, Bonnie J. Kaplan, Journal of Attention Disorders, Vol. 9, No. 4, 631-641 (2006).Ch

[16] Christine Courtois: “When One Partner has Been Sexually Abused as a Child,” Family Stressors: Interventions

   For Stress and Trauma, (2005): 95-113.

[17] Aber JL, Allen JP, Carlson V, & Cicchetti D. The effects of maltreatment on development during early childhood:

   recent studies and their theoretical, clinical and policy implementations. Cicchetti D, Carlson V, editors Child

   Maltreatment: Theory and research on causes and consequences. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1992.,

   p. 579-619.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Child Abuse and Its Relationship to Conduct Disorder, Sadekie Lyttle BCc MSc Clinical Psychology, Stacey

   Brodie Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, http://priory.com/psych/abuse.htm

[20]Previous exposure to trauma and PTSD effects of subsequent trauma: Results from the Detroit Area Survey of

   Trauma, Breslau, N., Chilcoat, H.D., Kessler, R.C., Davis, G.C., American Journal of Psychiatry, 156:902-907,


[21] “High Percentage of Youth in the U.S. Report Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress and Other Disorders,” Journal

   of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2003, Vol. 71, No. 4.

[22] National Institute on Drug Abuse. Exploring the Role of Child Abuse in Later Drug Abuse, 2000.

[23] Psychosomatic Disorders: Theoretical and Clinical Aspects, By Ghazi Asaad, Published by Psychology Press,


[24]Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in severe mental illness, Mueser, K., Goodman, L.A., Trumbetta, S.L.,

   Rosenberg, S.D., Osher, F.C., Vidaver, R., Auciello, P. & Foy, E.W., Journal of Consulting and Clinical

   Psychology, 66, 493-499.

[25]Substance abuse treatment for persons with child abuse and neglect issues, Treatment Improvement Protocol

   (TIP) series, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2000.

[26]Family Matters: Substance Abuse and The American Family, The National Center on Addiction and Substance

   Abuse at Columbia University, March 2005.

[27] B.A. Miller, W.R. Downs, and M. Testa, “Interrelationships Between Victimization Experiences and Women’s

   Substance Abuse: National Survey Findings,” Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 58(3), 264-271 (1997); T.J. Jarvis,

   J. Copeland, and L. Walton, “Exploring the Nature of the Relationship Between Child Sexual Abuse and

   Substance Abuse Among Women,” Addiction, 93(6), 865-875 (1998).

[28]Models for Developing Trauma-Informed Behavioral Health Systems and Trauma-Specific Services, Ann

   Jennings Ph.D., 2004, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and the National

   Technical Assistance Center for State Mental Health Planning.

[29] Chandy, et al. History of Sexual Abuse and Parental Alcohol Misuse: Risk, Outcomes and Protective Factors

   in Adolescents. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. 13(5): 411-432. October 1996.

[30] Suicidal thoughts and behaviors in former sexual abuse victims, John Brier, Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical

   Center and Marsha Runtz, University of Manitoba and Klinic, Inc., Community Health Centre, 1986.

Rate this blog entry:
National Scope of Child Abuse - Part 1
National Scope of Child Abuse - Part 3


No comments yet

Most Popular Posts

06 June 2013
Rate this blog entry:
09 September 2013
Rate this blog entry:
13 March 2014
Rate this blog entry:
31 May 2013
Rate this blog entry:
10 October 2016
Rate this blog entry: