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The long-term health outcomes of childhood abuse

An overview and a call to action

Abstract

While the association between abuse in childhood and adverse adult health outcomes is well established, this link is infrequently acknowledged in the general medical literature. This paper has 2 purposes: (1) to provide a broad overview of the research on the long-term effects of child abuse on mental and physical health including some of the potential pathways, and (2) to call for collaborative action among clinicians, psychosocial and biomedical researchers, social service agencies, criminal justice systems, insurance companies, and public policy makers to take a comprehensive approach to both preventing and dealing with the sequelae of childhood abuse.

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Correspondence to Molly Carnes MD, MS.

Additional information

This work was supported by National Institute on Aging grants K07 AG0074 and T32 AG000129, the DHHS OWH National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health Program, the National Science Foundation grant no. 0123666, the Vilas Estate Trust, and the Jean Manchester Biddick-Bascom endowed professorship. The authors thank Professor Robert M. Hauser, Principal Investigator of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, for his support and encouragement, and Sarah Bernhardt for her editorial expertise.

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Springer, K.W., Sheridan, J., Kuo, D. et al. The long-term health outcomes of childhood abuse. J GEN INTERN MED 18, 864–870 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.20918.x

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Key words

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • hostility
  • medical diagnoses
  • childhood abuse
  • somatic symptoms