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Child Abuse

Child Abuse and Impact on Children into their Adult Life: A Review of the Literature
Genita Johnson
Hampton University

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Abstract
Child abuse is when a parent or guardian verbally or physically causes harm though injury, risk,
or death. Child abuse ranges from neglect, sexual abuse, maltreatment or emotional abuse. Child
abuse is not always so obvious. Child abuse is often a hidden problem in America. Over the
years Americans have been able to expand on warning signs. This literature review will inform
the reader with impacts of child abuse for children and later on in their adult life. An interview
will contribute to the research of impacts of child abuse.

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Child Abuse and Impact on Children into their Adult Life: A Review of the Literature
Child abuse is familiar issue to the United States; over the years America has become more
aware of the issue. Americans have become more open to sharing their childhood experiences as
teaching mechanisms to create awareness.
Child abuse has damaging effects to not only the victims who personally endure it but the family
and communities as well. The damaging effects can lead up to a lifetime of issues and
discomfort. In order to see the extent of what child abuse does, four important questions need to
be considered:
1.

Does child abuse impact the developmental growth?

2.

Does child abuse impact children to abuse in their adult life?

3.

Are there physiological reasons why people abuse children?

4. Are people ever able to recover from child abuse?


The following review on literature will: discuss the impact on developmental growth, provide
information on the impacts of child abuse causing children to abuse in their adult life, inform on
the physiological reasons on why people abuse children and inform on recovery from child
abuse.
Does child abuse impact the developmental growth?
Impacts from child abuse can be devastating. The consequences of being abused as a child can
affect the brain development that controls memory and emotions, poor peer relations and violent
behavior. Research on the consequences of abuse is a challenge based because of the hidden
nature of abuse is not always open. (Crosen-Tower). Children first see their parent or guardian
as a sense of security and love. Children learn their first set of views of security, love,

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understanding, nurturance and support from their parents. When children are exposed to abuse it
violates the trust the child has with the world. Never again is a childs brain developing so
rapidly with such important developmental tasks, the earliest years are where the childs
foundation for future behavior is laid. (Scannapieco and Connel-Carrick) The wounds of child
abuse create these children to be more prone to display behaviors such as flashbacks, school
problems, suicidal thoughts, inability to love and trust others, poor self-image and aggressive,
disruptive, and sometimes illegal behavior. (Child Abuse- The Hidden Bruises) This figure from,
The Long-Term Health Consequences of Child Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, and Neglect:
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis displays the definitions of all types of child abuse.

Although child abuse differs from case to case, this small sample may indicate some definitions
of common cases of child abuse.

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Does child abuse impact children to abuse in their adult life?


Child abuse impacts are so heavy it can continue to impact the survivor throughout their adult
life. The depth of the abuse does not matter it can continue to haunt them throughout their life
making it difficult to let go of the incident or see what is wrong with the abuse. Unresolved
traumas grow into bigger problems as life goes on. (Bernman)The abuse could continue to seem
normal for the survivor. One third of abused children will act out the same behavior they were
exposed to with their abuse. The cycle of abuse continues mainly because of the lack of
psychiatric attention they needed to work through the trauma. (Bernman) Victims of child abuse
mimic what they know or seen growing up. If all you know in your family is abuse decades later
when in a loving relationship, chances are erasing the memories is rare and loving your partner
properly is difficult. Adult survivors are at great risk of establishing a pattern of repeated
victimization. (Engel)Victims of abuse continue to get stuck in the abusive cycle, victims
continue to relive their abuse. Survivors without knowing look for people in their life with the
same behaviors that they trying to escape because it is all they know. Male survivors are likely to
take out their aggression on other people while females are likely to be victimized or hurt
themselves. (Engel) Not everyone exposed to abuse will become an abuser or a victim. Some
survivors develop resilience almost at birth which makes them less vulnerable of being violent.

Are there physiological reasons why people abuse children?


Understanding the motives of people who are involved with abuse are difficult. To completely
understand these irrational choices must be lived in or experienced. (Patricelli) Abuse is initially
triggered by learnt behavior. Parents pass on certain messages and beliefs and traits determining
whether you will become an abuser. The abuse could be seen as a family legacy such as parental

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discipline styles, constant fighting, abandonment, domestic violence, and neglect. People who
abuse have certain perceptions and behavior that cause them to act out in unhealthy ways. The
behaviors consist of lack of communication skills, unrealistic expectations, bad habits learned
growing up, and self-destructive path. (Engel) Witnessing excessive violence when growing up
or misogynistic upbringings develop patterns of abuse. People believe they have the right to
make decisions in a relationship and consider themselves superior abuse. Drug and Alcohol
misuse is a significant factor in abuse causing an impulse of reactions because of the non-sober
state of mind. Survivors of child abuse lack empathy causing them to not empathy with their own
children. Lack of empathy is serious cause of abuse because it effects the reactions creating a
situation that would be considered abuse to other but not to yourself. For those who grew up with
the exposure of abuse, abuse is considered a normal condition for those people. In survivors
adult lives it easy for them to recreate relationship dynamics they grew up with. Consequently,
becoming the abuser. People with mental health issues are prone to abuse. It is easy to for
someone with a metal health issue to easily get out of control. Their mental health issue makes it
difficult for them to inhibit themselves. (Patricelli) Abusers do not identify people as people and
treat them as objects, these abusers are most likely psychologically ill. Some abusers abuse
because of the benefits they receive afterwards. The root of why people abuse stems mostly from
learnt behavior and upbringings as well as mental health disorders.
Are people ever able to recover from child abuse?
Child abuse can leave survivors wounded and deprived from those they are supposed to love and
trust. Trauma can never fully heal if the trauma goes ignored and create problems in future
relationships. Emotional wounds during childhood are experienced at a childs perspective. The
brain remembers the event in a child-like state. (Williams) Since the children process information

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differently than the adults it is likely they place a lot of blame on themselves. The blame is
carried over into their adult life. The child abuse memories are so painful survivors do not dwell
over the events, if they do they focus on parts at the expense of others which is not a complete
picture of the event. (Williams)
Confronting the painful experiences is the only way to gain control over the past. From my
primary research of a phone interview with a survivor Vickianna Alusma, Vickianna has not
forgotten her childhood abuse but has accepted it as her past. She revealed growing up during her
playdates the family mannerisms of her friends with their parents were nothing like hers at home.
The love and nurturing her friends received is when she started recognizing the problems within
her home. Her first realization was her friends parents spoke to each other without yelling and
cursing. When she graduated high school she was able to escape the corruptions of her home.
During high school she gained comfort to speak about what she goes through and found
classmates dealt with the abuse through therapy. Vickianna knew it would be impossible to seek
therapeutic help during high school so after graduation in her freshmen year of college she
started seeing the counselors at Westfield State University. Vickianna stated she will never be
able to fully forgive her parents or forget but she uses the counseling as steps to not relive her
past. Vickianna hopes for her children to not live through what she lived through and understands
her value and does not want to put herself in anymore abusive predicaments. Nonetheless,
survivors like Vickianna can go through therapy. There are several different coping mechanisms
such as praying, revisiting your earliest painful memory as a starting point and writing it all
down, thinking about the experience in your adult mind, or go through the journey with someone
special to you but, most likely will never erase the issue it will just help you heal.

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Conclusion
Millions of children are abused every year in the United States creating a longevity of issues for
the child throughout adult life and the family legacy behind it. Child abuse creates complexities
for proper child developmental growth, violates childrens trust with the world, and children are
more prone to display suicidal thoughts and violent behaviors. The impacts of abuse continue on
in the survivors life in their adult life. Unresolved events will continue to haunt them throughout
their life. The lack of psychiatric attention continues the trauma in survivors lives creating a
pattern of reoccurrence. Adult survivors are at great risk of establishing a pattern of repeated
victimization. As difficult as it is to understand the reasonings why people abuse it is most
common because of learnt behavior, upbringings as well as mental health disorders. Survivors
often never fully recover from the childhood abuse but they can use different coping mechanisms
to help them successfully move past the events such as therapy, revisiting the memory, thinking
about the experience with an adult mind or revisit the journey with someone special.

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Works Cited
1. "Child Abuse - The Hidden Bruises." Child Abuse - The Hidden Bruises. Web. 12 Mar.
2016.
2. Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington, D.C.: National Academy, 1993.
Print.
3. Scannapieco, Maria, and Kelli Connell-Carrick. Understanding Child Maltreatment : An
Ecological And Developmental Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
4. Bernman, Laura, PhD. "How Childhood Abuse Can Manifest in Adult Relationships."
EverydayHealth.com. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
5. Engel, Beverly. Breaking The Cycle Of Abuse : How To Move Beyond Your Past To
Create An Abuse-Free Future. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2005. eBook Collection
(EBSCOhost). Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
6. "Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect." PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.): n.
pag. Web.
7. Patricelli, Kathryn. "Why Do People Abuse?" Mental Help Why Do People Abuse
Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
8. Norman, Rosanna E. "The Long-Term Health Consequences of Child Physical Abuse,
Emotional Abuse, and Neglect: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." PLOS
Medicine:. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
9. Williams, Monnica T. "Overcoming the Pain of Childhood Abuse and Neglect."
Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
10. Alusma, Vickianna. Personal Phone interview. 10 March 2016.

Activity #12: Peer Review


Eugene Marshall
5 Extra Credit Points
Either in class or online, exchange your draft with one or two classmates. Use the

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following prompts to provide feedback.

1. Evaluate the paper's abstract in terms of both writing quality and in context with
the paper as a whole. Make one suggestion for improving the abstract.
The abstract is short but gives a general background of what will be assessed in the
paper.

2. What are the research questions? Comment on their appropriateness.

1. Has child abuse become medically relevant?


2. Are children afraid to get initial help for child abuse?
3. Why does child abuse happen?
4. What are the consequences or convictions of child abuse?

Each question is appropriate, they all respond to child abuse.

3. State the paper's thesis statement, and explain how it can be improved.

Thesis Statement: The following review on literature will: provide information regarding how
Child Abuse has become medically relevant, if children are afraid to get immediate help for child
abuse, why does child abuse occur, and what are some possible consequences for child abuse.

The author could elaborate more on the specifics of each question and what will be
answered but the statement is direct and goes accordingly to the questions.

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4. What primary research is being used in the paper? Evaluate its usefulness.

The research does not have any primary research.

5. How does the paper utilize secondary research? Note any suggestions you might
have for improving its use of secondary research
The secondary research is used to base their points. Gene uses reason to make his
points.

6. Evaluate the MLA in-text citations and entries on the References page. Correct
any errors that you find. Explain the rule for any repetitive errors here.

The in text citation its underlined and not always correct. Citation should not be
underlined.

7. Explain one more way that the paper could be improved.

The sentence structure could be expressed better, word choices and


sentence phrasing could be better.