Long-term consequences of childhood physical abuse

Psychol Bull. 1993 Jul;114(1):68-79. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.114.1.68.


This article reviews the literature on the long-term consequences of childhood physical abuse. Empirical research is discussed within 7 topic areas: aggressive and violent behavior, nonviolent criminal behavior, substance abuse, self-injurious and suicidal behavior, emotional problems, interpersonal problems, and academic and vocational difficulties. The studies reviewed involve primarily adult populations, although pertinent findings from literature on children and adolescents are briefly summarized. Some variables that affect the relation between physical abuse and long-term consequences are examined. These moderator variables include maltreatment characteristics, individual factors, family factors, and environmental factors. The article ends with suggestions for future research on long-term consequences and variables that may affect these outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Personality Development*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Violence