Wednesday's Child: Research into Women's Experience of Neglect and Abuse in Childhood and Adult Depression

Wednesday's Child: Research into Women's Experience of Neglect and Abuse in Childhood and Adult Depression

Wednesday's Child: Research into Women's Experience of Neglect and Abuse in Childhood and Adult Depression

Wednesday's Child: Research into Women's Experience of Neglect and Abuse in Childhood and Adult Depression

Synopsis

The words of many ordinary women are documented here, vividly demonstrating how as survivors of child abuse, their adult relationships and self-esteem have suffered. The authors, who discuss abuse in terms of marital breakdown, poverty and parental psychiatric disorder, also show us what we can learn from the experiences of these survivors, assessing factors which will reduce the later impact of childhood abuse on both the children of today and the parents of tomorrow.

Excerpt

Myths, folklore and superstitions bear eloquent testimony to man's age-old intuition that events occurring in infancy and childhood, or even prenatally, may determine the subsequent course of life...Thousands of years were to elapse before that intuition was to be scientifically approached.

(Furst 1967:3)

The purpose of this book is to make available to a wider readership the accounts of childhood trauma we have collected in the course of researching the links between early experience and clinical depression in adult life. For many it may seem intuitive, and thus unnecessary to prove scientifically, that early experiences influence what happens to us as adults. But the world of the child and adolescent is complex, encompassing a variety of potentially influential experiences in the first sixteen years of life. Harmful experiences do not necessarily come singly, neither do they exist in a vacuum devoid of any happier ones. Intuitive understanding cannot hope to grasp the complex mechanisms by which various interrelated childhood experiences influence different adult outcomes. Systematic research is required to disentangle the elements of adverse experience responsible for the greatest impact. Such investigation is also required to clarify the differences between one form of abuse and another, and to assess the severity of abuse required for an experience to have lasting rather than short-term impact. More optimistically, systematic study can hope eventually to pinpoint which particular positive experiences give most protection against long-term negative consequences.

The study of childhood neglect and abuse in relation to adult disorder often requires highly technical analyses in which the

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