The long term effects of childhood abuse significantly increase a person's chance of having poor physical and psychological health during adulthood, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine and conducted by researchers at Concordia University.
This research coincides with a 2009 study which said that child abuse raises a person's chance of developing illnesses when he/she is an adult. A different trial published in September of this year said that men who were sexually abused as children have a higher chance of having heart attacks during adulthood.
Jean-Philippe Gouin, with his team from Ohio State University and the University of Missouri, analyzed how stress impacts the body's biological response.
"We wanted to investigate whether abuse during childhood could have a lasting impact on the physiological response to stress in daily life. Past research has evaluated the impact of early abuse on stress-response among young adults. We wanted to extend these findings to older adults."
During the study, the experts talked with 130 adults, who were 65 years old on average, regarding their history of being abused as children and stressful events in their lives. They were asked to complete an interview which was designed to evaluate the incidence of stressors in the 24 hours prior to the interview.
Some stressors they found among the participants were having a fight with a significant other or getting caught in traffic, which resulted in being late for something important. The experts then took blood samples from the individuals to measure 3 different biological marker levels.
The findings revealed that there were significant differences between two groups in one of the biological markers measured. Those who had been abused as children and claimed multiple stressors in the 24 hour period prior to the study, had levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a protein that jump-starts an immune response, that were more than twice as high as those who also said they had multiple stressors but were not abused as children.
Evidence from the trial shows that early childhood abuse damage lasts well into adulthood.