453 Child Trauma and Physical Health

Research by Gilbert, Leah; Breiding, Matthew; Merrick, Melissa; Thompson, William; Ford, Derek; Dhingra, Satvinder; & Parks, Sharyn (2015). Childhood Adversity and Adult Chronic Disease: An Update from Ten States and the District of Columbia, 2010. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 48(3), 345–349.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.09.006

Written by Robin N. Fatovic M.S.

Do traumatic childhood events lead to not only increased mental health difficulties but also physical health?

Researchers collected data from over 50,000 respondents from several areas in the US through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which asks personal questions about people’s experiences and health statuses.

Results? 60% of respondents reported having one or more childhood experiences of abuse and/or difficult living situations. Those who experienced at least 1 experience had a greater chance of reporting poor overall mental and physical health, asthma, myocardial infarction, and disability. Those who reported 3 to 6 of those experiences were at higher risk of developing diabetes, and those who reported 4 to 9 were at higher risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.

The mind and body are very intertwined. When people feel stressed, many bodily events happen that impact the different systems and organs in the body. When a child is growing, these changes can have long-term health impacts. Consider what children experience in your home. Make sure to get help, report any physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a child. Protect their mental and physical development!

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