Lesson 1 of 7  - free your true Self to guide you

Study: Early life violence
tied to mental disorders

by Genevra Pittman
 at Reuters Health

in Yahoo News - 07/13/2012

The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/gwc/news/violence.htm

  Updated  April 11, 2015

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        This clinical study validates a main premise in this Web site: that early-childhood trauma ("violence") causes up to six psychological ''wounds'' that promote significant personal problems. See my comments after the article. The highlights below are mine. - Peter K.. Gerlach, MSW

+ + +

(Reuters) - People who remember being pushed, slapped and hit as children are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety and personality disorders later in life, according to an international study covering thousands of people.

Canadian researchers whose results were published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that between two and seven percent of those mental disorders might be due to punishments inflicted in childhood, not including more severe forms of abuse.

"People believe that as long as you don't cross that line into child maltreatment, and the physical punishment is controlled and doesn't cross the line into abuse, it won't have any negative long-term consequences for the child," said study leader Tracie Afifi at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

"The way we see it is along a continuum of having no violence to severe violence," Afifi said.

Up to half of all children may be spanked as punishment, but Afifi and her team wanted to look at harsher punishments, such as shoving and hitting.

The study team used data collected by United States Census interviewers in 2004 and 2005 in surveys of close to 35,000 adults across the country.

The interviewers asked participants about how often they were physically punished as kids, other problems their families had - such as parents who had drug problems or went to jail - and about their symptoms of mental disorders, current or past.

Afifi and her colleagues didn't include anyone who reported being physically, sexually or emotionally abused by family members in order to focus on the effect of punishment that didn't go so far as to constitute maltreatment.

They found about six percent of interview subjects had been punished beyond spanking "sometimes," "fairly often" or "very often" - and those people with a history of harsh physical punishment were more likely to have a range of mood and personality disorders or to abuse drugs and alcohol.

For example, 20 percent of people who remembered being physically punished had been depressed and 43 percent had abused alcohol at some point. That compared to 16 percent of people who weren't hit or slapped who had been depressed and 30 percent who drank too much.

Those links held up after the researchers took into account family problems, including which participants' parents had been treated for mental illness themselves - and interviewees' race, income and education level.

Afifi and her team wrote that physical punishment may lead to chronic stress in children, which could then increase their chance of developing depression or anxiety later on.

Michele Knox, a psychiatrist who studies family and youth violence at the University of Toledo College of Medicine, agreed that's a likely explanation.

"Physical punishment is a chronic and sometimes repeated stressor for young people, and we know that chronic and repeated stressors have a negative impact on the brain," said Knox, who wasn't part of the study.

But the findings can't prove the punishments themselves caused the children to develop mood and personality disorders, with Knox pointing out that interviewees may not have known if their parents were treated for mental illness. Depression and anxiety are known to be at least partly genetic. SOURCE: http://bit.ly/jsoh2P

(Reporting from New York; editing by Elaine Lies and Bob Tourtellotte)


        There are several things worth noting about this article and the research it summarizes.

  • the researchers focused on the long-term impact of parental "violence" on kids' "mental health." The slapping, pushing, and hitting indicates parental (a) lack of impulse control and (b) ignorance of the psychological effects of their behavior. Those are the real sources of kids' problems.

  • The article promotes the misconception that slapping, pushing, and hitting a child is not "physical abuse." Anything that significantly damages a defenseless child's wholistic development is abuse and/or neglect!

  • the researchers and the article's author promote the myth that "depression" is a "mental disorder." They're apparently unaware that it is a symptom of being dominated by a ''false self'' and/or of normal grieving.

  • the results of this study are probably understated because of the tendency of typical psychologically-wounded adults to minimize, deny, or "forget" childhood neglect, abandonment, and abuse ("trauma"). 

  • The article makes no reference to what to do about parental "violence." Lesson 6 in this educational Web site offers many practical options for improving the effectiveness of raising young kids. 

  • The research and article make no mention of how psychological wounds and unawareness - which cause parental violence - pass down  the generations unless proactively stopped.

        Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your true Self, or ''someone else''?

  For similar research summaries in the media, see this.

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Updated  April 11, 2015