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Families with addiction linked to childhood abuse

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A recent study found that when a parent faces addiction, divorce or a stretch of long-term unemployment, it can affect children in a big way.

A Canadian study has found that more than one-third of adults who grew up in families where all three of the previous risk factors were present had suffered physical abuse during their childhoods. When compared to adults that didn't have these three risk factors, adults who had grown up with a parent battling one of these factors were 10 times more likely to be abused.

Esme Fuller-Thompson, a professor of social work at the University of Toronto and author of the study, notes that a tenfold risk is considered unusual for these types of studies, and that it indicates the severity of the problem.

“The findings were remarkably consistent,” Fuller-Thomson said, “and it’s very worrisome.”

For adults that had none of the risk factors growing up, the rate of abuse was 3.4 percent, while adults who did have one or more of the risk factors saw that number jump to 10.7 percent for divorce, 9.7 percent with long-term unemployment, and 19.5 percent with addiction. Moreover, when two risk factors were involved, 25-30 percent of the study participants said they experienced abuse.

Fuller-Thompson says that not many adults had faced all three risk factors, but that the findings were still alarming in their own right. She hopes the research will help encourage other studies on these three risk factors for child abuse.

Source: The Globe and Mail