Newton, Claira (2021) Childhood Emotional Abuse: Exploration of abuse factors that contribute to the long-term impact on childhood victims. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Child abuse is a widespread issue. Each year, millions of children experience some type of abuse, usually perpetrated by a parent or primary caregiver (Spinazzola, et al., 2015). From the existing literature around child abuse, particularly child emotional abuse, it is evident that issues associated with abuse are longer lasting than the abuse itself (Newton & Gavin, 2020). In order to explore child abuse experiences, and the ways in which emotionally abusive elements of child abuse can negatively impact victims, a multi-item scale was developed to obtain anonymous accounts of survivors’ own perceptions. Using a mix of data collection, and data analysis methods, research findings suggest that victims of abuse are at an increased risk of experiencing mental health issues and, that a range of maladaptive coping methods are prevalent in individuals with abuse histories. However, a number of potentially positive and effective coping methods were also identified, relating to both childhood and adulthood. Further exploration of findings revealed that nearly half of the abused group disclosed or attempted to disclose their abuse to an adult, during their childhood, with the majority reporting negative disclosure outcomes. Feelings of being denied love and protection in childhood was found to be a recurrent theme among victims of child abuse, which was also identified as being one of the hardest elements of abuse to overcome. This apparent lack of love and protection from caregivers was found to be associated with a multitude of relationship and parenting issues in adulthood. Additionally, findings suggest that 65% of abused participants now use family avoidant strategies, meaning they have cut or limited contact with their parents, their abuser(s) and/or their entire family in an attempt to protect themselves from further abuse and/or the negative issues surrounding it. Current findings could have practical implications in terms of early identification and intervention for children at risk of emotional abuse. Furthermore, findings could assist with the development of therapeutic interventions and identification of individual’s requiring additional support in order to deal with and overcome their abusive childhood experiences.

Final Thesis
FINAL THESIS - Newton.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview
FINAL THESIS Appendix_4 - Newton.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (1MB)


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email