The Links Between Child Abuse and Psychological, Emotional, Behavioral, and Interpersonal Disorders

The Links Between Child Abuse and Psychological, Emotional, Behavioral, and Interpersonal Disorders

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Abuse of children has become a major social problem and a main cause of many people's suffering and personal problems. Neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse have an immediate and long-term effects on a child's development. The long-term effects of abuse and neglect of a child can be seen in psychiatric disorders, increased rates of substance abuse, and relationship difficulties. Child abuse and neglect is a huge problem. Parents who abuse are people who have been abused and neglected themselves as children(Long Term Consequences).

There are links between neglect and abuse and later psychological, emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal disorders. The basis for this linkage is the impact that abuse and neglect have on brain development. Researchers have found important links between interpersonal experiences and neurobiological development. Children who have been sexually abused are at significant risk of developing anxiety disorders (2.0 times the average), major depressive disorders (3.4 times average), alcohol abuse (2.5 times average), drug abuse (3.8 times average), and anti-social behavior (4.3 times average)(Crouch).

Generally the left hemisphere of the brain is the site of language, motor activity on the right side of the body, and logical thought based on language. The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for motor activity on the left side of the body, context perceptions, and holistic perception. The orbito-frontal cortex (the part of the brain directly behind the eyes) is responsible for integrating emotional responses generated in the limbic system with higher cognitive functions, such as planning and language, in the cerebral cortex's prefrontal lobes(Culp). The left orbito-frontal cortex is responsible for memory creation while the right orbito-frontal cortex is responsible for memory retrieval. Healthy functioning requires an integrated right and left hemisphere. A substantial number of synaptic connections among brain cells develop during the first year of life. An integrated brain requires connections between the hemispheres by the corpus callosum. Abused and neglected children have smaller corpus callosum than non-abused children. Abused and neglected children have poorly integrated cerebral hemispheres. This poor integration of hemispheres and underdevelopment of the orbitofrontal cortex is the basis for such symptoms as...


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...ren. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 20(1), 49-65.

Culp, R. E., Watkins, R. V., Lawrence, H., Letts, D., Kelly, D. J., & Rice, M. L. (1991). Maltreated children's language and speech development: Abused, neglected, and abused and neglected. First Language, 11(33), 377-389.

Dong, M. (2004). The interrelatedness of multiple forms of childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. Child Abuse & Neglect, 28(7), 771-784.

Greenfield, E. A. (2010). Child abuse as a life-course social determinant of adult health. Maturitas, 66(1), 51-55.

Larkin, H. (2009). Adverse childhood experiences linked to health risk behaviors. Policy and Practice of Public Human Services, 67(3), 14-16.

Sylvestre, A., & Mérette, C. (2010). Language delay in severely neglected children: A cumulative or specific effect of risk factors? Child Abuse & Neglect, 34(6), 414-428.

Trickett, P. K., & McBride-Chang, C. (1995). The developmental impact of different forms of child abuse and neglect. Developmental Review 15, 311-337.

Twardosz, S., & Lutzker, J. R. (2010). Child maltreatment and the developing brain: A review of neuroscience perspectives. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 15(1), 59-68.

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