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a debate between the impact of psychological abuse and physical violence

Psychological and physical abuse are the two major forms of abuse that can be observed in the case of children. Around the world, a number of children go through the catastrophe of abuse on a daily basis. The aspect of abuse can be identified in different dimensions, and the psychological and physical are the two major types of violence. Two different forms of abuse in the case of psychological and physical approaches propose the question to compare both types and determine which have more negative and lasting effects on the overall development of the children (Norman et al., 2012). I personally believe that the feature of psychological abuse is more harmful to children as compared to physical abuse. Here, my particular aim is to provide the necessary insights to determine that psychological abuse is more chronic as compared to physical abuse.

Abuse is one of the most discussed forms when it comes to the broader prospect of child trauma and resilience. It is the one significant controversial topic to consider which form of abuse is more harmful to children, either psychological or physical (Chamberland, Fallon, Black, & Trocmé, 2011). It is crucial to mention that if someone says harsh or hurtful words, it negatively impacts individuals for a long time. It becomes immensely difficult to overcome the damage resulting from bad words or behavior (Pollak, Cicchetti, Hornung, & Reed, 2000). I personally believe that we are thinking more about what someone said to us, such as, you are not capable enough to perform specific tasks in life, or We do not like you. It is the most painful form of abuse that might face by the children and affects their thought processes for a long time.

There is evidence of some research work that critically assesses the severity of physical abuse more than psychological abuse in the case of children. It is crucial to understand that the negative implications of physical abuse cannot be avoided as it leads to sexual exposure in the case of early adulthood. It is crucial to understand that there is a strong link between childhood physical punishment/abuse (CPA) and sexual abuse in the case of childhood (Fergusson, Boden, & Horwood, 2008). The negative impacts of physical abuse cannot be neglected as it can be characterized as further abuse in the form of sexual violence and various mental health concerns.

Undoubtedly, it can be stated that the feature of physical abuse or violence in the case of children is the one prime reason that becomes the reason for the other forms of violence. The feature of physical violence in the case of children is more damaging as it enhances the risk of different health concerns and even life for the children. If there is the adoption of the severe and continuous practice of physical abuse, then it can cause the loss of the life of the children. It can cause different forms of injuries, which might remain unexplained with the consideration of childcare development (Pressel, 2000). The feature of physical abuse is more complex and harmful in children because sometimes it becomes immensely difficult to recognize different injuries in the form of physical violence.

There is evidence from many research studies that the effect of psychological abuse is significantly more deteriorating as compared to physical and sexual abuse. When it comes to physical violence in the case of children, it is crucial to understand that it is interlinked to the particular emotional approach. The damage of the physical abuse can also be observed in the case of their psychological conditions. It affects the features of the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children for the rest of their lives. The necessary arguments about physical abuse also made this particular point valid that psychological abuse is more damaging than physical abuse. The feature of maltreatment in the case of psychological treatment has the immense level of potential to create a compelling predictor as the one contributor to trauma in the case of children (Spinazzola et al., 2014). The prospect of psychological or emotional abuse ultimately expands the feature of trauma in children as compared to the other forms of maltreatment. It can be indicated that psychological abuse is more damaging because it is closely related to the memories of individuals. Recalling physical pain is difficult, but memories always remind the individual of the negative words or behavior from the past (Young & Widom, 2014).

To conclude this debate about the impact of psychological abuse and physical violence, it is crucial to consider the ground realities. Children have strong memories if someone negatively behaves to them. On the other hand, individuals experience physical pain for a short span of time. The particular form of the psychological abuse in case of children can be more challenging for the children to deal. It is critical because it is difficult to assess the actual intensity of the pain that children go through in their lives.


Fergusson, D. M., Boden, J. M., & Horwood, L. J. (2008). Exposure to childhood sexual and physical abuse and adjustment in early adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32(6), 607–619.

Pressel, D. M. (2000). Evaluation of physical abuse in children. American Family Physician, 61(10), 3057–3064.

Chamberland, C., Fallon, B., Black, T., & Trocmé, N. (2011). Emotional maltreatment in Canada: Prevalence, reporting and child welfare responses (CIS2). Child Abuse & Neglect, 35(10), 841–854.

Norman, R. E., Byambaa, M., De, R., Butchart, A., Scott, J., & Vos, T. (2012). The long-term health consequences of child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Medicine, 9(11), e1001349.

Pollak, S. D., Cicchetti, D., Hornung, K., & Reed, A. (2000). Recognizing emotion in faces: developmental effects of child abuse and neglect. Developmental Psychology, 36(5), 679.

Spinazzola, J., Hodgdon, H., Liang, L.-J., Ford, J. D., Layne, C. M., Pynoos, R., … Kisiel, C. (2014). Unseen wounds: The contribution of psychological maltreatment to child and adolescent mental health and risk outcomes. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 6(S1), S18.

Young, J. C., & Widom, C. S. (2014). Long-term effects of child abuse and neglect on emotion processing in adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(8), 1369–1381.



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