Print Сite this

Causes and Results of Child Abuse

Child abuse can be emotional, sexual, and physical, but all its forms may lead to severe psychological problems. The effects vary from social discomfort to dangerous pathologies, making it difficult for clinicians to treat the problem. The more information specialists learn about the complex factors that influence abused children’s psychological state, the better they would be able to help them cope with the consequences.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More


Each child’s case is unique, but researchers see certain tendencies in the reasons behind the acts of maltreatment. In several cases described by Zeanah and Humphreys (2018), parents used the fact that their victims could not resist to show their dominance. Since an expected reaction toward the children would be a desire to protect them from harm, not vice versa, the grownups in these situations had psychological problems. They may be caused by unhealthy sexual arousal toward underaged victims, dissatisfaction with life, or drug usage (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). Abuse from strangers may also occur in some cases, but the home environment is more common as children are less likely to report being abused by their family members than by strangers.

Sexual violence towards children is especially challenging to notice, stop, and neutralize afterward since the victims try to hide it as something shameful. Associated physical injuries are also difficult to see for friends or teachers, as they are less obvious than bruises on the arms or scratches on the face. Zeanah and Humphreys (2018) define this abuse as the one performed “for purposes of the caregiver’s sexual gratification or financial benefit” (p. 638). The reason behind the act may be the desire to earn money. To consider this method, the caregiver has to be either desperate or unstable psychologically. A poor state of the economy or a particular family may cause child sexual abuse.

Emotional maltreatment may seem less severe than physical but cause serious dysfunctions in the human brain, especially in children when they are still developing. Such abuse could be exhibited through unreasonable expectations from a child, raising the voice, and a negative attitude (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). Caregivers might choose to maltreat the children emotionally to feel superiority, enjoy the power, for amusement, or to satisfy their ambitions. Sometimes, parents try to develop their sons and daughters into prodigies by making them practice their talents (for example, playing the piano) for many hours per day. Although the original motives, in this case, are positive, such overtraining may become emotionally abusive as children’s organisms need to have enough rest and support to develop correctly.


The outcomes of child abuse vary greatly, as they depend on numerous factors. Maltreatment affects organisms’ development, both mentally and physically, although the symptoms are not always easy to observe (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). Sometimes the emotional and behavioral problems are caused by genes or unrelated social conflicts, but separating these cases from the abusive ones can be challenging. People are complex, and various factors mix as they affect human development and behavior.

Abuse in childhood may lead to problems in development, both physical and mental. Some victims show language malfunctions, such as stuttering or avoiding verbal contact. In addition to that, since communication with other people was associated with negative emotions, children may become antisocial. However, scientists say that many victims with abuse history from the early years did not develop any significant disorders (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). It may have happened because children have natural mechanisms to help them overcome the difficulties while growing. For example, their brain could erase young age traumas to protect a person’s psychological state. Furthermore, even difficult childhood usually includes some happy memories that one will be able to recall when they grow up.

Physical and sexual violence have two types of consequences: effects on the child’s body and mental state. The former depends on the extent of the anatomical damage and the organism’s ability to recover (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). For example, sexual abuse may lead to infertility, while hitting a child could cause broken bones. Some injuries occur in children’s lives due to outdoor or sports activities, and they may have similar effects. The mental disorders triggered by one-time or systematic physical violence could have a significant impact. For example, a dramatic argument could lead to posttraumatic stress disorder development. In particular situations, maltreatment may extend or enforce the mental disorder but is not needed to start it. An example of such a case would be physical violence deepening the major depressive disorder (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). Either way, the mental and physical states of a human are interconnected and have mutual influence.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

Age of Children

Children of different ages are not in the same stage of development. What is crucial for the baby to start using speaking skills may not be as important for a 2nd grader. A passive-aggressive phrase has a less noticeable effect on a toddler that can mainly comprehend the voice’s tone, while it could lead to emotional trauma for a teenager. Some people do not remember any verbal of physical maltreatment they experienced as babies. Teenagers tend to overthink the negative situations in their lives and recall them years later. The impacts of abuse and effective recovery methods are different for children of various ages (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). That is another reason for the specialists to collect extensive data samples to help each group more effectively.

Child Protection System

Developing the Child Protection System (CPS) is one of the consequences of child abuse. The government designed an organization to help distinguish juvenile maltreatment cases, remove the victims from the harmful environment, and help them cope with the consequences (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). CPS includes a large group of specialists and sub-organizations that monitor suspicious cases. They also do the research, protect the children when needed, and place them in American Child Welfare when the families do not follow proper upbringing guidelines. This system may not be ideal, but the teachers and neighbors can call this service for investigation, which was not possible before.


Mental and physical child abuse happens regularly despite being immoral and unnatural. It is usually caused by the caregivers’ unhealthy psychological behavior and might have a significant effect on a victim’s health as they grow up. Every maltreatment case is individual and may lead to different results. Behavioral specialists need to collect data to study child abuse, develop effective ways to stop it, and help the victims recover. The development of Child Protection Services provided guidelines for protecting children from maltreatment. Although the system and methods are not ideal, they help raise awareness about the issue and perform the research to increase their effectiveness in the future.


Zeanah, C. H., & Humphreys, K. L. (2018). Child abuse and neglect. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 57(9), 637–644. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


StudyCorgi. (2022, April 2). Causes and Results of Child Abuse. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2022, April 2). Causes and Results of Child Abuse.

Work Cited

"Causes and Results of Child Abuse." StudyCorgi, 2 Apr. 2022,

* Hyperlink the URL after pasting it to your document

1. StudyCorgi. "Causes and Results of Child Abuse." April 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. "Causes and Results of Child Abuse." April 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "Causes and Results of Child Abuse." April 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Causes and Results of Child Abuse'. 2 April.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.