The effects of physical & verbal abuse on teenagers

Written by kimberly caines Google
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The effects of physical & verbal abuse on teenagers
Signs of abuse can be visible and unvisible. (D. Anschutz/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The teenage years are difficult because your body is going through many changes and you have more responsibilities. Being a teenager exposed to physical and verbal abuse within the household can be unbearable. Abuse in the household, whether it's between parents or between parent and child, can effect a teenager for his entire life. Effects of abuse in teens can range from isolation to suicide and should therefore not be taken lightly.

Emotional Effects

Physical and verbal abuse both hurt children in an equal manner. Even though the signs of verbal abuse may not be as easily seen, they emotionally scar a teenager in the same way physical abuse does. Low self-esteem, depression, anger, fear, stress, emotional numbness and feelings of guilt and worthlessness are all emotions that teenagers exposed to verbal and physical abuse can experience. A teenager can carry some of these emotions all the way into adulthood where lack of trust can cause relations problems and depression can reoccur.

Behavioural Effects

Teenagers can show different kinds of behaviour during times of abuse. Some teens may be introverted and isolate themselves from other people. Some teens start rebelling and getting into trouble with the law. According to, abused juveniles were 11 times more likely to be arrested for criminal behaviour as apposed to other kids. Abused teenagers may also start smoking cigarettes and display more severe self-destructive behaviour such as alcohol and drug abuse. Sexual promiscuity and sexual risk-taking such as unprotected sex are also effects of verbal and physical abuse on teens.

Physical Effects

Violent abuse that includes pushing, pulling, hitting and shoving, can result in physical harm to the teenager. Black and blue eyes and scratches and bruises are often the result of abusive attacks. Out of shame, the teen will use clothing to cover up the marks, and he will frequently miss school and social gatherings. Abused teenagers can also take on self-harming behaviour because they are overwhelmed with feelings of fear and helplessness. They may suffer fluctuations in their weight because of eating disorders they've resorted to, or they may start cutting themselves. According to the Child Welfare website, teens that suffer abuse are more likely to get ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, high blood pressure, arthritis and ulcers when they are adults.


The severity of the effects of verbal and physical abuse depends on the resilience of the teenager. Some teens may experience long-term effects all the way into adulthood, while others are more able to cope and are able to stop the effects of abuse from interfering in their adult lives. If a teenager has good self-esteem, is independent and optimistic, the effects of abuse may not affect him as much. Teens who don't have these strong characteristics will suffer more from the effect.

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