Scientific literature has described psychological abuse over two-and-a-half decades ago, yet MacMillan states that it has remained under-recognized and under-reported and that the impact of psychological child abuse “can be as harmful as other types of maltreatment.”
Psychological maltreatment has an impact on the development of children. Psychological abuse is therefore associated with various problems, including disorders of attachment, developmental, educational and socialization problems as well as disruptive behavior.
“The effects of psychological maltreatment during the first three years of life can be particularly profound.”
Psychological abuse happens in many types of families, although it is more frequent in homes where there is family conflict, multiple stresses, physical violence, mental health issues, depression or substance abuse.Unlike the few existing studies that report on the prevalence of psychological abuse, the position statement reveals that large population-based, self-report studies in the UK and the U.S. have discovered that around 8 to 9% of women and 4% of men reported exposure to severe psychological abuse during childhood.