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Physical abuse is any intentional act causing
injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage to the body caused by an external force. This may be caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and other causes. Major trauma is injury that has the potential to cause prolonged disability or ...

injury
or
trauma Trauma most often refers to: *Major trauma, in physical medicine, severe physical injury caused by an external source *Psychological trauma, a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event *Traumatic injur ...
to another person or
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...
by way of bodily contact. In most cases, children are the victims of physical abuse, but adults can also be victims, as in cases of
domestic violence Domestic violence (also called domestic abuse or family violence) is violence Violence is the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy. Other definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization Th ...
or
workplace aggressionWorkplace aggression is a specific type of aggression Aggression is overt or covert, often harmful, social interaction with the intention of inflicting damage or other harm upon another individual. It may occur either reactively or without provoca ...
. Alternative terms sometimes used include
physical assault An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in crimi ...

physical assault
or
physical violence Violence is the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy. Other definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Na ...
, and may also include
sexual abuse Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is abusive sexual behavior Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their Human sexuality, sexuality. Peop ...
. Physical abuse may involve more than one abuser, and more than one victim.


Forms

Physical abuse means any non-accidental act or behavior causing
injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage to the body caused by an external force. This may be caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and other causes. Major trauma is injury that has the potential to cause prolonged disability or ...

injury
,
trauma Trauma most often refers to: *Major trauma, in physical medicine, severe physical injury caused by an external source *Psychological trauma, a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event *Traumatic injur ...
, or other physical
suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is the basic element that makes up the negative valence of affective ...

suffering
or
bodily harm Bodily harm is a legal term of art used in the definition of both statutoryA statute reffers to the body of law that are made by legislature of the nation with instrument which govern the state, country or any nation. it includes laws, rules and th ...
. Abusive acts toward children can often result from parents' attempts at
child discipline Child discipline is the methods used to prevent future behavioral problems in children. The word discipline is defined as imparting knowledge and skill, in other words, to teach. In its most general sense, discipline refers to systematic instructio ...
through excessive
corporal punishment A corporal punishment or a physical punishment is a punishment which is intended to cause physical pain to a person. When it is inflicted on Minor (law), minors, especially in home and school settings, its methods may include spanking or Padd ...
."Child physical abuse".
American Humane Association.
Giardino, A.P.; Giardino, E.R. (12 December 2008)
"Child Abuse & Neglect: Physical Abuse".
''WebMD''.


Causes

A number of causes of physical abuse against children have been identified, the most common of which, according to Mash and Wolfe, being: *many abusive and neglectful parents have had little exposure to positive parental models and supports. *there is often a greater degree of stress in the family environment. *information-processing disturbances may cause maltreating parents to misperceive or mislabel their child's behavior, which leads to inappropriate responses. *there is often a lack of awareness or understanding of developmentally appropriate expectations.


Effects

Physically abused children are at risk for later interpersonal problems involving aggressive behavior, and adolescents are at a much greater risk for
substance use disorder Substance use disorder (SUD) is the persistent use of drugs (including alcohol) despite substantial harm and adverse consequences. Substance use disorders are characterized by an array of mental/emotional, physical, and behavioral problems such as ...
s. In addition, symptoms of depression, emotional distress, and
suicidal ideation Suicidal ideation (or suicidal thoughts) is thinking about, considering, or planning suicide. It is not a diagnosis, but is a symptom of some mental disorder A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a beha ...
are also common features of people who have been physically abused. Studies have also shown that children with a history of physical abuse may meet
DSM-IV-TR The ''Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders'' (DSM; latest edition: DSM-5 The ''Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition'' (DSM-5), is the 2013 update to the ''Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of ...
criteria for
posttraumatic stress disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi ...
(PTSD). As many as one-third of children who experience physical abuse are also at risk to become abusive as adults Researchers have pointed to other potential psycho-biological effects of child physical abuse on parenting, when abused children become adults. These recent findings may, at least in part, be carried forward by epigenetic changes that impact the regulation of stress physiology. Many other potentially important consequences of childhood physical abuse on adolescent and adult physical and mental health and development have been documented via the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies.


Treatment

Seeking treatment is unlikely for a majority of people that are physically abused, and the ones who are seeking treatment are usually under some form of legal constraint. The prevention and treatment options for physically abused children include: enhancing positive experiences early in the development of the parent-child relationship, as well as changing how parents teach, discipline, and attend to their children. Evidence-based interventions include
cognitive behavioral therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psycho-social intervention that aims to reduce symptoms of various mental health conditions, primarily depression and anxiety disorders. CBT focuses on challenging and changing cognitive distortions (e. ...
(CBT) as well as video-feedback interventions and child-parent
psychodynamic psychotherapy Psychodynamic psychotherapy or psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a form of depth psychologyDepth psychology (from the German term ''Tiefenpsychologie'') refers to the practice and research of the science of the unconscious, covering both psychoanalys ...
; all of which specifically target anger patterns and distorted beliefs, and offer training and/or reflection, support, and modelling that focuses on parenting skills and expectations, as well as increasing empathy for the child by supporting the parent's taking the child's perspective. These forms of treatment may include training in social competence and management of daily demands in an effort to decrease parental stress, which is a known risk factor for physical abuse. Although these treatment and prevention strategies are to help children and parents of children who have been abused, some of these methods can also be applied to adults who have physically abused.


Other animals

Physical abuse has also been observed among in Antarctica.


Forms


References


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Physical Abuse Abuse Bullying Effects of external causes Violence Acute pain