Long-term Effects of Child Maltreatment

The consequences of child abuse and neglect can be categorized as physical, psychological, behavioral, and societal, each with implications with one or more of the other categories. Physical abuse resulting in damage to a child’s developing brain can lead to psychological repercussions such as emotional problems or an interruption in cognitive development. Psychological problems are often revealed as high-risk behaviors including anxiety or depression. Such behaviors often times increase the probability of an individual smoking, overeating, or becoming addicted to alcohol or other drugs. These, in turn, may result in long-term physical problems that include cancer, obesity, or sexually-transmitted diseases. Child maltreatment effects society directly in the cost to investigate and prosecute reported and substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect, respectively, as well as the higher incidence of unemployment and poor health.31