How Maltreatment of a Child Can Have Long Term Effects

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Child abuse is considered socially unacceptable, unfortunately it happens every day. The effects from childhood maltreatment are long lasting and potentially life threatening. Childhood maltreatment is an act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other care giver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child (Saha, 2012, p. 213). Child abuse acts are committed behind closed doors and lack the necessary attention they need to be prevented. Research has shown that the acts of abuse do not stop behind closed doors. Maltreatment of a child causes effects such as; relationship violence, suicidal behaviors, and repercussions to the brains structure and function.
Relationship Violence
When adolescent years approach a child, one of the first noticeable causes of childhood maltreatment can be relationship violence. When an adolescent begins to date the anxieties of a new relationship can produce aggressive and at time physically abusive behavior. From a social-cognitive perspective, child maltreatment and exposure to violence at home predisposes individuals to approach interactions with a heightened tendency to process and interpret cues of threat and conflict and to view violence as a legitimate response (Wolfe, 2009, p. 22). An adolescent that has been exposed to violence and maltreatment could be provoked and become dominant and or violent. Consequently, young adults that suffered from maltreatment often approach relationships with less empathy for others (Wolfe, 2009, p.22). They also suffer from diminished self-efficacy when resolving conflict without losing control of their temper or behavior (Wolfe, 2009, p. 22). Young adults that possess less empathy to other’s feelings and emotions ca...

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The wide reaching effects of childhood maltreatment can happen not only in the developmental stages of life, but also throughout young adulthood. The long term effects of dating violence, suicidal behaviors, and brain structure and functional changes could be diminished greatly with further research and education. With the new information and advances in research available today actions towards better prevention and protection can be established and implemented.

Works Cited

Delima, J. (2011). The neurobiological effects of Childhood maltreatment. Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Saha, I. (2012). Repeat Abuse During Childhood and Adolescence leading to Suicidal Behavior. Journal of Family Violence.
Wolfe, D. A. (2009). Child Maltreatment, bullying, gender- based harassment, and adolescent dating violence. Psychology of Women Quarterly.
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