There are numerous effects on both physical and emotional health linked to occurrences of childhood abuse. From psychological trauma and stress to physical symptoms that can be quite complex, children often experience difficulties arising from abuse that can have an impact on their quality of life long after the incident or incidents take place. Sometimes, such difficulties can arise much later in life, though the precise connections between the abuse events and the manifestation of symptoms may not be precisely clear. Recently, such a relationship was found between childhood abuse and osteoarthritis by a study performed at the University of Toronto. Though the researchers have been unable to describe a clear path of causation between child abuse and osteoarthritis, their gathered information shows that abused children are 56% more likely to develop osteoarthritis later in life than those who were not abused.
The study’s participants self-reported on whether they had experienced abuse as a child, and controls were put in place to account for possible arthritis-related factors, including obesity and rates of physical activity. Osteoarthritis, which affects scores of people in the United States and around the world and can create significant difficulties with basic, everyday functioning, was present in one of the groups studied, while it was absent in the control group. The researchers found that those with osteoarthritis had a 10.2% rate of self-reports of abuse during childhood, compared to a rate of only 6.5% among those without osteoarthritis.
Adding further evidence to the importance of preventing childhood abuse, the study may help those in the mental and medical health professions better understand and serve their clients.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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