Emotion procession is one of the main constituents of social competence. Emotion processing comprises of elements such regulation of emotion, emotion perception, interpretation, communication of emotions. Emotions have the primary function of providing information about the environment as well as respond to manipulation of behaviors. Depending on the scenario, the behavioral response triggers the defensive or appetitive systems in an individual. Several theories have indicated there is a direct correlation between emotion processing and behavioral reactions to emotions. This article examines the various research on childhood abuse, the development of emotions, as well as the psychopathology to determine the impacts of childhood abuse on adult emotional development.
Childhood abuse also referred to as Childhood maltreatment, is considered a health priority in the domain of violence of violence prevention. Although several measures have been put in place to help in the protection of children from violence and child abuse, the existing standards do not adequately prevent child maltreatment; hence they need improvements.
Childhood abuse consists of those serious negative early experience a child receives from the caregiver, which threaten, potentially harm, or may harm the mental, physical, or social development of the child. There are numerous forms of mistreatment that make up the child abuse or childhood maltreatment. It could be the kind of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse. Sexual abuse includes those actions that involve either attempted or any completed sexual contact the child experiences from the caregiver. Physical abuse is described as those actions that require the use of physical force, which can either cause harm to the child or has the potential to harm him or her. Neglect can either be emotional or physical, can defined as the failure by the parents or the caregivers to provide adequate that are aimed to fulfill the child's basic needs such as education, proper nutrition, safety and shelter, medical care, hygiene, emotional needs, and medical care (Gould et al., 2012). Emotional abuse is the consistent ill-treatment of a child emotionally by the caregiver or the parent that has significant adverse impacts to the emotional development.
The experiences in the child abuse are characterized by the prolonging in time and their repetitive manner, and with exception to sexual abuse, normally perpetrate by caregivers or parents. In some instance, children are subjected to overlapping exposure to various kinds of childhood maltreatment. Several studies have been conducted to find the prevalence rates of childhood maltreatment across the world. The most prevalent and challenging type of childhood abuse was found to be emotional abuse and in most instance overlap with other forms of abuse. However, despite its prevalence, the current intervention and detection tools used to determine the emotional abuse among children cannot target the maltreatment effectively, hence requiring improvements.
Studies have shown that the ascertained accounts for childhood abuse represent one-tenth of the total cases that have happened. The possibility of the distortion of results by the mood congruent responses and memory degradation, the assessment methods such retrospective and self-reported has been considered to be less effective. The two assessment tool is crucial to the identification of the broader spectrum of childhood maltreatment. Research has indicated the stability of the self-reported data of childhood abuse across time. These data have been shown to be good predictors of the psychopathology of adults when compared to that childhood maltreatment that has officially or prospectively ascertained.
Childhood Abuse Consequences
Those adults who were exposed to childhood maltreatment, especially emotional abuse, have been indicated to undergo consequences including sexual risk behaviors, depression, and substance abuse and suicide attempts. Studies have shown that despite the assessment method used, childhood abuse and poor long-term physical health outcomes have been found to be correlated.
Numerous psychological symptoms have examined and found to be related to childhood maltreatment. Various forms of abuse have different impacts on the individual who experienced childhood abuse. For example, sexual abuse has been indicated to be correlated with maladaptive sexual behaviors, anxiety, and sleep disturbances while physical abuse has been associated with social inhibitions, aggressive action, and delinquency (Nicol, Pope, and Hall, 2014). Factors such as hostility, anxiety, somatization, paranoia, and depression were found to be associated with neglect. Besides, neglect plays a crucial role in the prediction of the general psychological problems.
Emotional abuse has been indicated to be essential in predicting poor health outcomes and psychological problems. The symptoms that are usually associated with emotional abuse include anxiety, depression, negative self-evaluation, and interpersonal sensitivity. Studies have suggested that the adverse impacts of other forms of abuse such as physical and sexual abuse, might have an association with an overlapped exposure to emotional maltreatment. The verbal aggression of parents or caregivers has been indicated to be moderately or highly correlated with anger-hostility, dissociation, depression, and limbic irritability among the healthy adults in the society (Dias et al., 2015). Furthermore, it has been established that psychiatric sequelae have stronger relations among individuals subjected to emotional abuse than those who experienced physical maltreatment. The childhood maltreatment and psychiatric disorders are mediated by factors such as maladaptive cognitive schemas and adult insecure attachment styles.
Several studies have indicated that clinical conditions that are related to childhood abuses have specific therapeutic demands. Several therapeutic interventions have been developed for adolescents, children, as well as adults. Interventions that are oriented on the phases of abuse, such as affect regulation and psycho-education are suggested to effectively reduce the symptoms among those individuals exposed to childhood abuse and are suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder. However, there is scant knowledge about the methods that can be used to prevent disturbances among the subjects exposed to childhood maltreatment. The paper helps identify the impact of child abuse in the development of adults' emotions and the interventions aid to foster resilience among the adults exposed to childhood maltreatment.
Numerous psychological problems have found among the adults exposed to childhood abuse. The exposure to childhood maltreatment is usually taken place in a context that will affect its potential impacts. One of the main problems in identifying the consequences of a single form is the simultaneous existence occurrence of the kinds of childhood abuse, creating confusion in the disentanglement of their independent effects. However, it is crucial to study the correlation between the prevalence of childhood maltreatment and its psychological impacts among the adults in the society, especially on their emotional development, to help in the tailoring of intervention and preventive programs.
Child Abuse and Emotion Processing
Generally, the normal process of emotional development has been shown to be disrupted by child abuse. When the non-abusive and maltreating parents or caregivers are compared, it has been found that the abusive parents or caregivers are characterized to shown more negative emotions and less positive emotions. Another significant characteristic of maltreating parents is the tendency to isolate themselves and their children from interacting with others. The results of such parenthood are the availability of few non-parental models of emotional communication.
Those children exposed to parenting or care-giving characterized as either harsh or inconsistent have been to experience difficulty in the prediction of the impacts of his or her behavior. This difficulty in prediction might be manifested in deficits the emotional information processing. Some of the results that studies have used to indicate the deficiencies in the processing of emotional information. These deficits scarce knowledge in the expression, recognition, and understanding of emotions, deficits in empathy, high risk of showing social delays, and reduced involvement in the pro-social behavior (Al Odhayani, Watson, and Watson, 2013). The results showed that there are deficits in the processing of emotion among maltreated, but the persistence of these deficits in adulthood has not been established.
Those children who have been subjected to physical abuse easily identify the facial displays of anger when compared to the control group. Other studies have further shown that there is a sensitivity in the perception of anger among children who experienced physical abuse as well as the general group of maltreated children when behavioral evidence and potentials related to events are used. Abusive homes play a role in teaching the children to associate anger with the threat of harm. Thus, these children remain to very vigilant for anger in their environment. The hyper-vigilance of emotions among maltreated children helps them to identify threatening scenarios better than children with non-abusive parents or caregivers (Herrenkohl et al., 2013). For example, these children have been found to be more sensitive to fear of those around them and anger in their abuser, since the two sensitivities are crucial to the identification of a threat quickly, thus, avoid any more abuse at the time. Those children subjected to childhood abuse have shown increase selective attention to angry facial expressions their mothers pose. Therefore, it can be argued that children exposed to maltreatment are more likely to exhibit deficits for pictures with neutral or positive valence while being less likely to show deficits in procession negative emotional pictures.
Potential Mechanisms Linking Childhood Maltreatment and Emotion Processing
The risks in intelligence in childhood and academic performance increases with the maltreatment or neglect of children. These impacts of children have been stated to extend into the adulthood of these individuals. Therefore, it can be said that there is a possibility of the shortage in intelligence can negatively affect the general performance on tasks that are involve processing. Especially, those tasks that utilize memory, hence indicating the reasons that lead to the bad performance of the maltreated individuals on these tasks.
Also, the psychological impacts that have been associated with child maltreated can negatively impact the performance on tasks involving the processing of emotions in adulthood. Research has shown that those individuals with a history of maltreatment show more symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. Also, it has been previously established that the higher the levels of anxiety symptoms, the more the deficit in emotion perception as well as the regulation of emotions and the display of attentional biasness by the persons with post-traumatic stress disorder to the stimuli that are related to trauma. Sometimes emotional cues can saliently indicate threat (Goodman et al., 2016). Therefore, in the task that process emotions, the higher the levels of anxiety in an individual, the higher the chances of him or her performing poorly on tasks that required emotion processing.
The risk of depression increased with when the existence of maltreatment or not among children. Other studies that showed the r...
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