Physical and Mental Health
As a consequence of unhealthy SED, in adulthood, people who were abused as children are at increased risk of behavioral, physical, and mental health problems, such as: committing or being a victim of violence, smoking, high-risk sexual behavior, unplanned pregnancy, harmful use of alcohol and drugs (World Health Organization, 2020). As a result of these behavioral and mental health consequences, abuse can lead to heart disease, cancer, suicide, and sexually transmitted infections.
The Risks of Unhealthy SED
Older children may develop severe depression with a sense of their inferiority. Among the long-term consequences are violations of the physical and mental development of the child, various somatic diseases, personal and emotional disorders, and social consequences (Srivastava et al., 2020). Almost all children who have suffered from abuse and neglect have experienced psychological trauma. Social Emotional Development (SED) is essential as it is the formative process by which a child forms close relationships, manages and communicates their emotions in appropriate ways, and participates and explores their environment in the context of ecological systems (i.e., family, community, etc.) (Jones et al., 2019). Children develop further with certain personal, emotional, and behavioral characteristics that negatively affect their future life.
The Connection with the Age
The difficulty in recognizing SED in children and developing a statistical basis for studying the impact of this phenomenon lies in the difficulty of diagnosing children under four years of age. Statistics show that the types of violence differ depending on age: the older the child, the greater the likelihood of mental rather than physical violence (Devries et al., 2018). Younger children are more likely to be neglected, while the risk for sexual abuse increases with age. Female children and adolescents are significantly more likely than males to suffer sexual abuse (Mraovich & Wilson, 1999). Malleable factors in early childhood are important predictors of later success and thus may be viable targets for intervention (Hammer et al., 2018). However, since the severity of forms of abuse gets worse with the child’s age, there is a chance that for younger children, the consequences of abuse will not be so devastating.
Devries, K., Knight, L., Petzold, M., Merrill, K. G., Maxwell, L., Williams, A.,… & Abrahams, N. (2018). Who perpetrates violence against children? A systematic analysis of age-specific and sex-specific data. BMJ paediatrics open, 2(1).
Hammer, D., Melhuish, E., & Howard, S. J. (2018). Antecedents and consequences of social– emotional development: A longitudinal study of academic achievement. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 6(1), 105-116. Web.
Jones, S. M., McGarrah, M. W., & Kahn, J. (2019). Social and emotional learning: A principled science of human development in context. Educational Psychologist, 54(3), 129-143. Web.
Mraovich, L., & Wilson, J. (1999). Patterns of child abuse and neglect associated with chronological age of children living in a midwestern county. Child Abuse and Neglect, 23, 899–903. Web.
Srivastava, R., N, J., Saldanha, S., Sagar, R., Seth, R. (2020). Child Abuse: Recognition and Response. India: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers Pvt. Limited.
World Health Organization (2020). Violence against children. Newsroom. Web.