Abuse in Childhood Shortens Lifespan
The stress of physical or emotional abuse in childhood may affect the body’s cells in a way that shortens the victim’s lifespan, according to a new study. Researchers found that in about 6,300 middle-aged women, victims of child abuse were more likely to die within 20 years than those who had not been abused as children.
The findings, published in JAMA Psychiatry, indicated that the more serious the abuse, the greater the impact on lifespan. Women who suffered severe physical abuse as children were 58 percent more likely to die during the study period than women with no history of abuse.
Earlier studies showed that victims of child abuse are at greater risk for poor mental and physical health as adults. Now, it seems, the trauma also increases the risk for earlier death. More research is needed to determine exactly why this happens and to learn more about the long-term effects of child abuse.
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