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Researchers Find Difference In Childhood Traumas That Particularly Affect Men And Women’s Mental Health

KEY POINTS

  • Researchers looked at the link between the type of childhood trauma and resulting psychiatric symptoms
  • They found that men were affected more by neglect
  • Women were particularly affected by abuse

Childhood trauma has an effect on both men’s and women’s mental health. See the article : Khloe Kardashian Denies Tristan Thompson Engagement Rumors. But there are stark differences in the kind of traumas that truly affect them, researchers have found.

For their work, which is among those presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry in Paris, an international team of researchers analyzed the data on the childhood traumas of 791 volunteers, the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) noted. These volunteers were also tested for various psychiatric issues.

The idea was to have a closer look at the association between the type of childhood trauma and the resulting psychiatric symptoms they end up with in adulthood. They also looked at gender-specific differences.

“Prior evidence suggests that men and women might be differentially susceptible to distinct types of childhood adversity (CA), but research on gender-specific associations between CA subtypes and psychiatric symptoms is limited,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers found that both men and women who had a high score for trauma were “significantly more likely” to have psychiatric symptoms in adulthood, the EPA said. And indeed, they found differences in the types of abuse that particularly affected men and women.

For instance, although being exposed to childhood emotional abuse affected both men and women, this was particularly more pronounced in women — the association was “twice as strong” in them. Women who were sexually abused during childhood also had increased risks for psychiatric symptoms.

On the other hand, later psychiatric symptoms were associated with men who experienced physical and emotional childhood neglect. This was not observed in women.

“Physical neglect may include experiences of not having enough to eat, wearing dirty clothes, not getting taken care of and not getting taken to the doctor when the person was growing up,” study lead Thanavadee Prachason of the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands explained in the EPA release. “Emotional neglect may include childhood experiences like not feeling loved or important, and not feeling close to the family.”

Overall, it appears that women were affected particularly by abuse and men by neglect. The findings are certainly interesting and may contribute to the broadening of the understanding of gender differences when it comes to childhood trauma, thus potentially leading to personalized interventions.

The sad reality is that many children are affected by the phenomenon, with up to 50% of the world’s children estimated to have experienced trauma in the past year, according to study senior researcher Suinan Guloksuz of the University of Maastricht.

“At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate,” the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) said. “In 2019, 1,840 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.”

The effects of such traumatic experiences on the survivors, as shown by the current study, can certainly persist through adulthood. Knowing just how childhood trauma can affect people’s mental health may then highlight the ways that the eventual effects can be averted.

“A number of studies have shown that childhood trauma contributes to a variety of mental health problems, and it is estimated that, worldwide, around one-third of all psychiatric disorders are related to childhood trauma,” Guloksuz explained. “Childhood trauma is a leading preventable risk factor for mental illness.”

But there is hope. And part of the recovery is recognizing the signs of trauma and getting children the help that they need, from giving them access to treatment and professional help to providing them with a caring support system.

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