Physical Effects of Child Abuse An abused child may experience one or more of the following: hitting, shaking, choking, biting, kicking, punching, burning, poisoning, suffocating, or being held underwater. The physical effects of child abuse or neglect can be variety, from minor such as bruises, welts or cuts, to severe injuries like burns, broken bones, hemorrhage, internal injuries or even death. Initial impact on children will be the immediate pain and suffering and medical problems caused by the physical injury. The longer physical abuse of a child occurs, the more serious the impact.
Chronic physical abuse can result in long-term physical disabilities. Researchers have identified some outcome of long-term abuse on children, including abusive head trauma, impaired brain development, and poor physical health. Abusive head trauma is an inflicted injury to the head, which caused by shaking and blunt impact. This is mentioned in chapter 3 as shaken baby syndrome. We’ve learnt that because the brain is still developing so rapidly in infancy, the infant’s head should be protected from falls or other the injuries and the baby should never be shaken.
Abusive head rauma is the most common cause of traumatic death for infants. The injuries may not be immediately noticeable and may include bleeding in the eye or brain and damage the spinal cord and neck. One in every four victims of shaken baby syndrome dies; nearly all victims experience serious health consequences. Child abuse and neglect have been shown to cause impaired brain development results from important regions of the brain to fail to form or grow properly. Impaired brain development causes long-term consequences for cognitive, language, and academic abilities; it also connects with mental health disorders.
Disrupted neurodevelopment as a result of maltreatment can cause children to adopt a persistent fear state as well as attributes that are normally helpful during threatening moments but counterproductive in the absence of threats, such as hypervigilance, anxiety, and behavior impulsivity. Several studies have shown a relationship between various forms of child maltreatment and poor health. Adults who experienced abuse or neglect during childhood are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, lung and liver disease, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and obesity.
One study showed hat children who experienced neglect were at increased risk for diabetes and poorer lung functioning, while physical abuse was shown to increase the risk for diabetes and malnutrition. Additionally, child maltreatment has been shown to increase adolescent obesity. Children who experienced neglect had body mass indexes that grew at significantly faster rates compared to children who had not experienced neglect. Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2013). Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services,