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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
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
that promote significant personal
See my comments after the article. The highlights below are mine. -
+ + +
(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
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
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
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
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
and/or of normal
the results of this study are probably
understated because of the tendency of typical
to minimize, deny, or "forget" childhood neglect,
abandonment, and abuse ("trauma").
The article makes no reference to what to do
about parental "violence."
in this educational Web site
offers many practical options for improving the
The research and article make no mention of how
psychological wounds and unawareness - which cause parental violence
generations unless proactively stopped.
breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you
needed? If not, what
you need? Who's
these questions - your
similar research summaries in the media, see
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April 11, 2015