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Does emotional trauma affect children differently than adults?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Children are more prone to developing emotional trauma in the wake of stressful events. Because their brains and personalities are still in the developmental stage, emotional trauma suffered in childhood can have lasting effects into adulthood. Children are also highly at risk for certain forms of trauma; one study of women who were raped in the past found that in 60 percent of cases, the abuse happened before they were 18 years old.

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Depending on the nature of the trauma and its cause, both children and adults can equally suffer devastating effects. Children may experience the suffering long into their adult lives if no ongoing counseling and emotional support is provided to help them process and understand the trauma and take active steps to manage their feelings, attitudes and coping skills regarding memories of the trauma. Adults suffer varying degrees of emotional trauma and may carry the internal devastation long term, or, they may have more advanced coping mechanisms from life experience and communication abilities to process the nature of the trauma, and manage their feelings, attitudes and coping in a manner resulting in mental health recovery in a shorter period of time. Adults may also need ongoing counseling and emotional support to effectively deal with emotional trauma.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.