Many people underestimate the far reaching effects of childhood. Some adults are not aware of how damaging or traumatic their childhoods were until they are adults and are trying to function in professional and personal relationships and are unable to.
The Slone Epidemiology Center in Boston, Massachusetts has recently done a study that links African-American women who were abused before age 11 with a greater chance of having adult asthma compared to those who were not abused as a child. The study was led by Patricia Coogan, DSc, and published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
This study followed 28,456 African-American women who were all a part of the Black Women’s Health Study between 1995 and 2011. They all filled out surveys and questionnaires. They also provided information about s*xual and physical abuse history up to the age of 11 and also from the ages of 12-18.
The results of the study showed that there was a twenty percent increase in adult on-set asthma in those women that had been abused as children. This was truer for physical abuse as opposed to sexual abuse. There was no evidence in a link between asthma and abuse during adolescence however. They attribute the higher risk of asthma being due to the stress that they endure as a child. This is the first study of this kind.
In 2010 statistics from the United States Department of Health and Human Services showed that over 695,000 children from the ages of 0-17 were neglected or abused in some way. This was identified by agencies run by Child Protective Services. Twenty-two percent of those children were African-American.
The Black Women’s Health Study is the largest study in the country that follows African-American women and their health. The researchers at the Slone Epidemiology Center are the ones who lead the study, and have followed 59,000 women since 1995. They take biennial surveys and study different health issues that affect African-American women in the country.