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This chapter explores the effects of early adverse experiences by reporting on long-term outcomes of childhood trauma. It focuses on physical abuse by the child's parent. The chapter covers a more psychologically severe form of abuse: attacks by someone from whom the dependent child expects protection and caring. It compares the outcomes at 30 years of abused children with the non-abused children. Three protective factors interrupted the perpetuating abuse by the mothers: childhood emotional support from an alternative adult, psychotherapy for at least 6 months or a contemporary adult supportive and satisfying relationship. Abuse may involve a parent incompetent at caregiving, or too troubled to provide protective and sensitive childrearing. Its symptomatic effects vary with developmental age, but, invariably, abuse diminishes the more optimal possibilities of the child well into adulthood.
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