Negative consequences of childhood mistreatment 'persists for decades'

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Children who experience abuse or neglect at a young age can experience negative effects that persist for decades, new research has shown.

The University of Utah study looked at data for 267 individuals aged between 32 and 34, examining any history they might have of physical or sexual abuse and neglect, and the impact on their social identity and performance.

“Mistreated children can experience negative effects that continue to be seen nearly three decades later, according to new research.“

It was shown that those who experienced abuse or neglect early in life were consistently less successful in their social relationships and academic performance during childhood, adolescence and adulthood, with the effects remaining consistent as they got older.

Later maltreatment did not fully account for persistent and long-term influences attributed to abuse and neglect from early childhood, while long-term difficulties with social functioning were shown to be independent of factors such as gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

Lee Raby, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah, said: "These findings add more evidence for the importance of identifying high-risk families and attempting to intervene before experiences of abuse and neglect occur."

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