Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Invisible scars: Verbal abuse triggers adult anxiety, depression

24.05.2006


A new study by Florida State University researchers has found that people who were verbally abused as children grow up to be self-critical adults prone to depression and anxiety.



People who were verbally abused had 1.6 times as many symptoms of depression and anxiety as those who had not been verbally abused and were twice as likely to have suffered a mood or anxiety disorder over their lifetime, according to psychology Professor Natalie Sachs-Ericsson, the study’s lead author.

"We must try to educate parents about the long-term effects of verbal abuse on their children," Sachs-Ericsson said. "The old saying about sticks and stones was wrong. Names will forever hurt you."


Sachs-Ericsson co-authored the study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, with FSU psychology Professor Thomas Joiner and researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The researchers studied data from 5,614 people ages 15 to 54 - a subset of the National Comorbidity Survey. The average age of the multiethnic sample was 33.

The findings are significant because of the clear implications for clinical treatment. Research has shown self-critical people can benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy, an approach that helps people identify their irrational thought patterns and replace them with more rational thoughts, Sachs-Ericsson said. In addition, they are taught new behaviors to deal with uncomfortable situations.

The high percentage of study participants who reported that they were sometimes or often verbally abused by a parent - nearly 30 percent - surprised the researchers, Sachs-Ericsson said. Verbal abuse included insults, swearing, threats of physical abuse and spiteful comments or behavior.

Parents may have learned this style of parenting from their own parents, or they simply may be unaware of positive ways to motivate or discipline their children, Sachs-Ericsson said. They may also have a psychiatric or personality disorder that interferes with their parenting abilities.

Over time, children believe the negative things they hear, and they begin to use those negative statements as explanations for anything that goes wrong. For instance, a child who does not get invited to a party or does poorly on a test will think the reason is because he or she is no good if that is the message conveyed by a parent. This pattern of self-criticism continues into adulthood and has been shown to make an individual more prone to depression and anxiety.

To assess self-criticism, researchers asked participants to respond to statements such as, "I dwell on my mistakes more than I should," and "There is a considerable difference between how I am now and how I would like to be." Those who had been verbally abused were more likely to be self-critical than those who were not.

Those who suffered parental physical abuse (6.6 percent) or sexual abuse by a relative or stepparent (4.5 percent) also were more self-critical, but the researchers determined that self-criticism may not have been as important a factor in the development of depression and anxiety for physically and sexually abused participants as it was for those who experienced verbal abuse.

"Childhood abuse of any type has the potential to influence self-critical tendencies," she said. "Although sexual and physical abuse don’t directly supply the critical words like ’you’re worthless,’ the overall message conveyed by these kinds of abuse clearly does."

Natalie Sachs-Ericsson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fsu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>