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Victims of Child Abuse can Improve Well-being with Marriage and Education

Update Date: Oct 16, 2012 05:36 PM EDT

The effects of child abuse Child abuse, whether the abuse was psychological, sexually or physically, though proven to leave some scarring both visible and invisible, can be combated later on in life. 
While some opt to live their adult lives rooted in the past, victimizing others and mimicking the wrongs done by them, others try to move forget their dark pasts and achieve some semblance of normalcy.

According to researchers from the University of Washington's School of Social Work, being married and getting at least a secondary education, i.e. finishing high school, are some of the factors that can prevent the repetitive cycle that turn the abused into the abuser. 

Researchers also found that adults who experienced child abuse reported less happiness and self-esteem, more anger and other psychological damage, indicating child abuse has wider-ranging effects than previously known. 

Todd Herrenkohl, professor in the University of Washington's  wanted to understand the overall lasting effects of childhood abuse and find some of the factors that mitigated the symptoms of these acts. 
The study's participants involved 30 men and women who were admitted into the study in 1970's when their parents were reported to child services. The participants were interviewed, asked a series of questions relating to different aspects of there social life including, but not limited to, level of education, friendships, alcohol or drug abuse, sexual and physical health, relationship status, etc.

The study found that those abused in childhood were more likely to substance and alcohol abuse  and have worse mental and physical health then a control group who was did no not experience any abuse. 
About 19 percent of the survivors reported problems with alcohol over their lifetimes, whereas only 10 percent of the non-abused participants reported these problems.

Being married or a high-school graduate partly lowered, but did not eliminate, the risk for depression among those who had been abused. Survivors who graduated high school had a lower risk for lifetime alcohol problems.
What surprised study authors the most was that gender and, particularly, socioeconomic had little to no effect on the symptoms of abuse: 

"The expectation is that growing up in a household with a higher income and higher social status will help kids, but child maltreatment erases those advantages," Herrenkohl said.

Research showed that the effects of child abuse are strong and long-lasting. While some factors may help subdue the more obvious symptoms of traumatization, researchers advise victims to seek psychological counseling to help cope with events. 

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