(Mirror Daily, United States) – New research suggests that having strong social support later in life can undo the negative health effects of childhood abuse in adult survivors.
Researchers found that people who were severely abused physically when they were children had a 19% lower risk of dying prematurely if they had strong peer support in mid-life than their counterparts with no support.
Also, survivors of moderate physical abuse and those of emotional abuse were 12% and 11% less likely to die early if they had understanding and supportive persons around them.
Jessica Chiang noted that supportive relationships later in life can undo or combat the negative health outcomes of abuse or neglect during childhood. Chiang is a fellow researcher at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
The good news is that not all childhood abuse survivors will necessarily face poor health in adulthood. If they have strong peer support even decades following the abuse they can recover and have a good health.
Supportive Relationships Can Help Heal People’s Traumas
The study clearly shows that supportive friendships, family ties, or romantic relations could improve the health or keep disease at bay in people who were abused as children.
Study authors didn’t rule out other factors that may have influenced the outcomes, like some people’s innate ability to become more resilient than others, which helps them better cope with childhood trauma and abuse later on.
Past studies have revealed a link between ‘toxic stress’ in an adult’s early years and a higher risk of early mortality in adulthood. Toxic stress includes childhood trauma, abuse, divorce, severe illness, or the death of one parent. These issues can hamper brain development and metabolism.
Toxic stress is also behind early aging, persistent inflammation, heart disease, obesity, and depression. In addition, childhood abuse boosts the risk of engaging in risky behaviors like addictions which can put survivors at risk of early death.
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