Children who experience sexual or physical abuse or are neglected are more likely to die prematurely in adulthood, according to a new study analyzing data from the 1950s to the present by researchers at UCL and the University from Cambridge.
The study, published in BMJ Open, found that adults who reported being sexually abused before the age of 16 had a 2.6 times higher risk of dying in middle age – that is, that is, between 45 and 58 years old – than those who have not reported sexual abuse.
Meanwhile, adults who reported experiencing physical violence at age 16 had a 1.7 times higher risk of premature death, while those who experienced neglect – assessed using Questionnaire responses collected from parents and teachers of respondents during childhood – had a 1.4 times higher risk.
The researchers also examined the link between socioeconomic disadvantage early in life and premature death. They found that those who were disadvantaged at birth (i.e. those whose father’s job was classified as unskilled manual labor) had a 1.9 times higher risk of premature mortality than other socio-groups. -economic.
READ ALSO: Domestic violence, child abuse cases on the rise in this lockdown: experts explain why
The study was based on data from 9,310 people born in 1958 who were part of the 1958 National Child Development Study, a nationally representative birth cohort study.
First author Dr Nina Rogers, who led the work at UCL and is now at Cambridge University, said: âOur work shows the long-term consequences that certain types of abuse and abuse can have. neglect of children. The results are particularly important as these early life difficulties are not uncommon, affecting millions of people in the UK. “
Researchers looked at socio-economic and health-related factors that might explain why people who were abused or neglected as children, or who were born into economically disadvantaged circumstances, were more likely to die in middle age. . They found that smoking appeared to be particularly important in explaining mortality among those who were physically abused or neglected, and among those who were economically disadvantaged.
However, none of the factors examined, which range from mental health and obesity to risky behaviors such as illegal drug use and excessive alcohol consumption, appear to explain the higher likelihood of premature death in children. people who were sexually abused as children.
Lead author Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira (UCL Surgery and Interventional Science) said: âThis study is the first to unravel independent associations between different types of child abuse and adult mortality. It is important to note that very few studies have examined the long-term implications of child abuse for which knowledge of long-term results is particularly rare. â
The prevalence of various difficulties early in life among the cohort members included in the study ranged from 1.6 percent (sexual abuse) to 11 percent (emotional abuse), with 10 percent classified as disadvantaged on the socio-economic plan at the beginning of life.
At ages seven and 11, each cohort member’s mother and teacher answered questions the researchers were able to deduce if they were showing signs of neglect. When cohort members were 45 years old, they were asked if they had ever experienced sexual, physical or psychological violence or witnessed violence against other family members before the age of 16. The researchers then followed the members of the cohort for 13 years and deaths were recorded during this period. Emotional abuse and witnessing violence against others were not independently related to the higher likelihood of premature death.
The work was supported by the US National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health, the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2019, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that one in five adults between the ages of 18 and 74 experienced at least one form of child abuse. child, be it psychological violence, physical violence, sexual abuse or being a domestic witness. violence or abuse, before the age of 16 (8.5 million people).
Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing. Only the title has been changed.