Physical abuse isn’t the only thing that can hurt a child.
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics says psychological abuse can be just as damaging as a slap, punch or kick’not only to a young child’s mental and emotional health, but also to their physical health.
Children exposed to psychological abuse have an increased risk in adulthood to certain physical health problems including heart disease and certain types of cancers, Dr. Marcella Fonaruma of the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston told The Canadian Press.
‘We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted,’ Dr. Harriet MacMillan, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences and pediatrics of McMaster University said in press release. She added that psychological abuse ‘can be as harmful as other types of maltreatment,’ and ‘The effects of psychological maltreatment during the first three years of life can be particularly profound.’
According to Health Canada, an estimated 235,842 maltreatment-related investigations were conducted across Canada during 2008. 34 percent of those were neglect cases, while 9 percent involved emotional maltreatment.
Health Canada recommends contacting a women’s centre, social service agency or health care centre if you, or someone you know, if being abused.
What do you think? Is psychological abuse just as bad as physical abuse?
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor