Statistics Show Many Parents Experienced Childhood Trauma

One in five California adults with children living in their homes said they were physically abused as a child, and one in 10 were sexually abused, according to data released this week.

The research, from Kidsdata through a partnership with the California Department of Public Health, shows that adults who are raising children commonly experienced childhood trauma when they were young. Previous research has shown that parents who experienced abuse as children have a higher likelihood of abusing their own children.

“However, parents who were abused do not all repeat the cycle of violence with their own children,” reads a release from Kidsdata, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.

Child resiliency, or the ability to mitigate the effects of childhood trauma, can help break the cycle of abuse.

Researchers found that 21 percent of California adults with children living in their homes said that they were hit, beaten, kicked or physically hurt by their own parents, or other adults in the home, when they were children. About 10 percent of adults with children in their homes said that they were sexually abused as a child.

According to Kidsdata, the statistics are the first in the state that account for childhood trauma among adults with children in their homes, a group that primarily includes parents. Researchers used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Adverse childhood experiences can impact people throughout their lives, public health experts say.

“The higher number of traumatic events a child experiences, the more long-lasting impacts those events may have on the child’s physical, mental and emotional health,” the release states.

Childhood adversity can lead to serious complications in adulthood, putting people at higher risk of chronic diseases, substance abuse and depression.

“While California has made strides in these areas, continued efforts are needed to ensure that all children thrive and reach their full potential,” the release states.

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