Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Mental Health: A Retrospective Study

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Mental Health: A Retrospective Study

Article excerpt

The childhood memories, whether positive or negative, are long-lasting. One might forget positive experiences, but negative experiences remain almost intact and it disturbs an individual in later life. However, with the passage of time, one feels more attached to his/her childhood, supposedly the best period of a one's life. But unfortunately for some this period of life is scarred by memories of maltreatment and abuse by parents or outside family members which results in deep-rooted emotional scars, many a times even irreversible. Evidence suggests that childhood trauma and adverse experiences can lead to a variety of negative health outcomes, including substance abuse, depressive disorders, and attempted suicide among adolescents and adults (Kingree et al., 1999; Brodsky et al., 1997). Another current study indicates that individuals with greater childhood emotional abuse severity experienced greater increases in depressive symptoms when confronted with current dependent stressors, controlling for childhood physical and sexual abuse. This study highlighted the importance of emotional abuse as an indicator for reactivity to stressful life events (Benjamin et al., 2014). Dana and Golan (2012) examined the stability and satisfaction of intimate relationships among college students with a history of Childhood Emotional Maltreatment (CEM). They concluded that people who experienced CEM were more likely to have troubled romantic relationships in adult years. Participants had an extremely strong tendency to bash themselves, and this interfered with their relationship satisfaction. The studies suggested that emotional abuse as a child impacted relationship fulfillment due to self-criticism.

Evidence also demonstrates that childhood sexual and physical abuse have been strongly associated with suicide attempts as revealed by a number of earlier studies (Beautrais et al., 1997; Kingree et al., 1999; Lipschitz et al., 1999; Rossow & Lauritzen, 2001). In a longitudinal study Jocelyn et al. (1999) studied the effects of childhood maltreatment on occurrence of depression and suicidal behaviour amongst 776 randomly selected children from a mean age of 5 years to adulthood. Results indicated that adolescents and young adults with a history of childhood maltreatment were three times more likely to become depressed or suicidal compared with individuals without such a history. Risk of repeated suicide attempts was eight times greater for youths with a sexual abuse history.

Compared to Western Countries, not much research is done on adverse childhood experiences and its impact on mental health in India especially on self-esteem, satisfaction with life, feeling of security and suicidal ideation. Impact of any negative incidents on individual's life depends upon numerous psycho-social factors and cultural set-ups where people live in and it varies from individual to individual. Therefore, the necessity was felt to carry out a systematic study to examine the issue.

Objective of the study

The main objective of the study was to examine the impact of adverse childhood experiences on mental health of college students with special reference to self-esteem, satisfaction with life, feeling of security and suicidal ideation.

Hypothesis of the study

There lies a significant difference between students who had adverse childhood experiences and who did not have the same with respect to self-esteem, life satisfaction, feeling of security and suicidal ideation.

Study site: The present retrospective study was carried out among College students of Kolkata city, West Bengal. Kolkata city is a metropolitan city with diverse socio-economic classified individuals. Thus it becomes one of the most preferred locations for study of violence against students hailing from different socio-economic and religious backgrounds with their own set of ideals and opinions.

Method

Participants

Atotal of400 students, 221 males and 189 females, aged between 1825 years were selected for the present study though multi-stage sampling method. …

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