It has been surmised by psychiatrists that females who faced child abuse when young may die prematurely from the ensuing complications.
Those children who suffer physical or emotional traumas and abuse may die an early death when they become adults. The researchers found this association between child abuse and premature death among women only and not men.
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Childhood difficulties and conflicts seem to increase the chances of mortality. Especially, child abuse seems to have a deep link with chances of death later on during the adulthood years.
The incidents of child abuse (physical and emotional) were studied along with a sample of 6285 adults who had emerged from this juvenile hell of chaos and pain.
Most of the individuals studied were Caucasian and in their late 40s. They were made to fill in certain questionnaires in 1995 and 1996. The experiences of cruelty had been dealt to these individuals at the hands of their parents.
Such was the irony of the situation that the very people who are supposed to be caretakers and guardians also did the most damage to these unfortunate souls.
The mortality records over the next two decades after the mid 90s were gathered by the researchers. Over 1091 deaths were tallied up till October of last year.
The females were especially vulnerable to physical and emotional abuse from their mothers or fathers. This in turn increased their chances of dying at a relatively early age.
The women who self-reported these adversities at the hands of their parents died 1.3 and 1.2 times more often than those who were oblivious of this fact and didn’t report any abuse whatsoever.
As for those who self-reported extreme physical abuse in their younger years, they ended up 1.6 times more likely to die sooner.
It all added up. The researchers buffered the study for other factors such as early economic status and later depressive illness. The experts have some hunches of their own regarding this phenomenon.
Early abuse at the hands of caretakers breaks a person down mentally and physically. Those on the receiving end of this cruel and brutal treatment tend to contract more physical diseases and mental illnesses with the passage of time.
Also such high risk behaviors as alcoholism and drug abuse tend to appear in these tragic cases. This takes a toll on longevity. Biological side effects may be there as well.
The abuse could leave behind traces in the cells of the individual thus making women prone to a host of problems in the mature years of their lives. The greater vulnerability of women may be due to different strategies employed by them to cope with stress.
More research in the future will bring this sensitive matter into even more focus and may also lead to novel therapies to erase the biological fingerprints left by the childhood traumas.
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The results of this study were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.