The Effects Of Physical Abuse On Children

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A general definition of physical abuse is a non-accidental injury of a child inflicted by a caregiver. Children who are abused can experience injuries ranging from bruises, fractures and broken bones, and in some cases, even death. There’s an estimated three million children are abused or neglected every day in the United States (Unger & Luca, 2014). Children are more likely to be physically abused if their parents are single, young parents, living in poverty, parents were also abused as children, families have alcohol or drug abuse problems, and there is domestic violence happening at home (Lazenbatt & Freeman, 2006). Many children who experience physical abuse experience emotional abuse and neglect as well.
The short-term impact of childhood abuse are cognitive and intellectual deficits, deficits in social skills, PTSD and other mental disorders, anxiety, suicidal behavior, heightened aggression, and risk-taking behavior. Long-term impacts include difficulty with trust, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, internalized aggression, depression, interpersonal difficulties, and substance abuse (Keene & Epps, 2016). These individuals also struggle with identifying and regulating their emotions. It is very common for victims of childhood physical abuse to feel shame and to experience it more often than people who did not experience abuse (Keene & Epps). A study by Keene and Epps (2016) found individuals who experienced childhood physical abuse are more likely to report
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