Personality development after child abuse was studied in 39 children who had, on average, been admitted to hospital five and a half years previously. In contrast to a control group, the abused children had fewer friends, lower ambitions, and lower self esteem. They were more serious, shy, and subdued on a personality assessment and were more likely than the control children to have behaviour disturbances recorded on a questionnaire for teachers. Their mothers also noted a higher incidence of behaviour disorders than mothers of control children. Child abuse has long term effects on the personality development of children. A long term, child centred approach is needed for abused children to try to prevent some of the sequelae.
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