A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation

Overcoming Childhood Trauma

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Studies show that young children who are exposed to five or more significant adverse experiences in their first three years of life face a 76 percent likelihood of having one or more delays in their language, emotional, or brain development. But there are ways to help children rise above adversities they may face.

More than a quarter of kids in the U.S. will witness or experience a traumatic event before they turn four years old. But a new study shows some strategies that can help kids cope with their painful past. Researchers at the University of Memphis looked at 161 college students who experienced physical violence or sexual abuse during childhood. They found certain factors, like greater family support, optimism, and positive religious coping, were associated with higher resilience among the participants. The study suggests that parents who provide positive support—such as listening and fostering a caring, open and supportive relationship—could help children bounce back from adversity. It’s a finding that may offer families new ways to help victims heal.

About 60 percent of adults report experiencing abuse or other difficult family circumstances during childhood. Being exposed to these types of experiences increases the risk of depression, suicide, and substance abuse.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

Original research:

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