Childhood Psychological Distress

from: Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, Special Issue (as presented in Monitor on Psychology January 2015, p. 18)

Childhood psychological abuse may be as harmful as sexual or physical abuse, according to a study led by a psychologist at The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline,Massachusetts. Researchers analyzed data from 5,616 youths who had lifetime histories of at least one of three types of abuse: psychological maltreatment, physical abuse or sexual abuse. Children who had experienced psychological abuse – such as bullying, severe insults, overwhelming demands and isolation – suffered from anxiety, depression,low self-esteem, symptoms of post- traumatic stress and suicidality at the same or greater rates than children who were physically or sexually abused. The researchers also found that among the three types of abuse, psychological maltreatment was most strongly associated with depression, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, attachment problems and substance abuse.