Child Abuse: An Overview

Effects of Child Abuse on Adults: Childhood Sexual Abuse

A history of childhood sexual abuse leads to a lower health-related quality of life and a greater number of health problems, psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses. Research shows that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have “more medical problems, higher medical use, more physical symptoms, lower health status, and more medical procedures.”11 High levels of anxiety and depression in survivors of childhood sexual abuse can lead to self-destructive behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse.7 Because of the association between sexual behavior and pain and violation, survivors of childhood sexual abuse often develop problems with intimate relationships in general, including difficulties during sexual contact and dysfunctions of desire and arousal.15

In general, childhood sexual abuse is associated with a greater risk of: Disturbances in sexual interest; Difficulties during sexual contact; Dysfunctions of desire, arousal or orgasm; Seductive behaviors, compulsive activity and prostitution; Precocious sexual behavior; Confusion of sexuality and nurturing behavior; Sexually transmitted diseases; Unintended pregnancy; Eating disorders; Excessive weight gain; Depression; Anxiety; Self-destructive behavior; Alcoholism; Drug abuse; Panic attacks; Insomnia and sleep problems; Relationship problems; Revictimization; Suicide; Self-mutilation; Increased risk for sexually transmitted disease; Identity disturbances; and Involvement in physically abusive relationships as adults.7,11,15

Child Abuse Introduction   |   Signs of Child Abuse
Child Abuse Statistics   |   It’s Under Reported
Effects of Child Abuse on Children: Abuse General
Effects of Child Abuse on Children: Child Sexual Abuse
Injuries to Children: Physical and Sexual Abuse
Effects of Child Abuse on Adults: Childhood Abuse
Effects of Child Abuse on Adults: Childhood Sexual Abuse
Definition of Physical Abuse   |   Signs of Physical Abuse
Definition of Sexual Abuse   |   Signs of Sexual Abuse
Definition of Child Neglect   |   Signs of Child Neglect
Definition of Emotional Abuse   |   Signs of Emotional Abuse
Abusers   |   Pedophiles
Child Physical Abuse and Corporal Punishment
Treatment for Child Abuse
Costs to Society
State Child Abuse Laws
Nationwide Crisis Line and Hotline Directory

Referring to this article:
“Child Abuse: An Overview” was written by C. J. Newton, MA, Learning Specialist and published in the Find (formerly Mental Health Journal in April, 2001.

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