The long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect (child maltreatment) can be profound and may endure long after the abuse or neglect occurs. Effects can appear in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, and may affect various aspects of an individual's development (e.g., physical, cognitive, psychological, and behavioral).
These effects range in consequence from minor physical injuries, low self-esteem, attention disorders, and poor peer relations to severe brain damage, violent behavior, and death. However, while maltreated children are at greater risk for these negative effects, many children are resilient in the face of adversity.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study
Presents research findings from a 10-year scientific study analyzing the relationship between multiple categories of childhood trauma and health and behavioral outcomes later in life.
Boys Will Be Boys: Understanding the Impact of Child Maltreatment and Family Violence on the Sexual, Reproductive, and Parenting Behaviors of Young Men (PDF - 793 KB)
Kahn & Paluzzi (2006)
Describes the long-term effects of child maltreatment and family violence on males, and discusses the roles of practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and educators in addressing these issues.
The Impact of Sexual Abuse on Female Development: Lessons From a Multigenerational, Longitudinal Research Study (PDF - 605 KB)
Trickett, Noll, & Putnam
Development and Psychopathology, 23, 2011
Discusses the impact of sexual abuse on girls aged 6-16 years and how psychological factors impact their development.
The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress
Shonkoff, Garner, Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care, & Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Pediatrics, 129(1), 2011
Presents a multidisciplinary framework that illustrates how early experiences and environmental influences can affect brain development and long-term health. The report also examines effects of toxic stress and links early adversity to later impairments in learning, behavior, and both physical and mental well-being. Also view the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement (PDF - 536 KB).
Maltreatment: Long-Term Effects (PDF - 2,660 KB)
Virginia Child Protection Newsletter, 87, 2010
Synthesizes recent research on the impact of child maltreatment on numerous medical, social, and behavioral outcomes. The newsletter also includes information on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and the Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect.