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October 2013

The Health Impact of Abuse

October is domestic violence and bullying awareness month. Violence is directly related to one’s health. In the US, a study of low-income pre-school children in Michigan found that nearly half (46.7%) of the children in the study had been exposed to at least one incident of mild or severe violence in the family. Another study shows that fifty percent (50%) of men who frequently assault their wives frequently assault their children also, and the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect suggests that domestic violence is likely the single major precursor to child abuse and neglect fatalities. In the United States, an important group of studies shows the link between adverse childhood experiences (ACE) such as abuse, neglect, and witnessed abuse, to negative physical and mental health outcomes later in adulthood. Compared to kids with no abuse history, kids exposed to abuse had higher risk for:

Also noted in US studies were changes in brain structure, such as evidence of smaller frontal lobes, negative psychological consequences and poor mental health outcomes which further influence the body’s stress load, impacting the physical health and quality of life of the trauma survivor.Victims and child witnesses of violence often experience fear, shame, guilt, and stigma. These negative emotions contribute to severe burdens of mental and emotional problems, particularly depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as noted above.

Witnessed abuse is considered by some as serious as child abuse. Certainly, the physical and mental health consequences do testify to that. Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems3 including:

The above health consequences offer strong evidence that violence is a serious public health problem. Prevention strategies and the development of protective factors can have a positive impact to reduce these health consequences. As a church we must do our part to get leaders trained and families helped in order to prevent and reverse this problem. Helping families and individuals strengthen protective factors in line with their faith and values can go long way to reduce the negative impact of abuse

Katia Reinert, PHDc, CRNP, FNP-BC, PHCNS-BC
Director, Adventist Health Ministries – NAD

Focus on a Spirit Led Revival
Join Seventh-day Adventists around the globe to pray for revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Join us in the “777” prayer, seeking “Revival and Transformation” as 7th-day Adventists praying 7 days a week at 7 o’clock (am or pm) daily, without ceasing until Jesus comes. For more information visit www.revivalandreformation.org  

Reach NAD prayer calendar: 
Pacific Union Conference Conference  GREAT HOPE PROJECT  The Great Hope audio recordings are now available online and can be loaded to your iPod, CDs, iphone, computer, for listening while you are exercising, driving, or working. Order The Great Hope at any Adventist Book Center (800-765-6955). The price is $0.79 ea for 1-199 units and $0.49 for 2000 or more, plus S&H. Join us in the distribution of 3 million copies of The Great Hope in North America.(English, Spanish, and French).

End Time Hope: a Journey to Eternity  

by Jim and Janene Ayer
Within the pages of this book author Jim Ayer invites you into his own intensely personal journey and unfolds the practical wisdom and understanding God has provided for every person that leads to the re-creation of your whole person—from the inside out.

Health Ministries Resources
NAD Health Ministries

Focus on what is TRUE and worthy of PRAISE, cultivating FORGIVENESS and a spirit of GRATITUDE
Facts with Hope
FACT: A review of research literature supports the concept that forgiveness helps us to live longer.  But a study last year found that forgiveness of self by physical therapy patients from the Appalachia area was associated with better physical, mental and overall health status, as well as current and chronic pain.1
HOPE:  The Bible is silent when it comes to a person forgiving himself. Instead, we are encouraged to accept the forgiveness of God.  As Christians, we can facilitate health in others by sharing this message of hope, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us,” Psalm 103:12, NIV.
FACT: An optimistic outlook appears to be a significant predictor of survival among the oldest-old women. In a twelve-year study of Danish people over 90 years old, women who were more optimistic were at lower risk of death compared to their neutral counterparts.  This pattern persisted even after adjusting for confounding factors such as baseline physical and cognitive functioning and disease.2  
HOPE: The Psalmist also observed this relationship between optimism and aging in Psalm 92:12-15, pointing out the source of our optimistic outlook:  “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree . . . . They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; He is my Rock” (NIV). 
FACT: Researchers found that in people living with chronic illness, such as arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes, acts of gratitude and forgiveness are associated with enhanced quality of life.3   
HOPE: Chronic illnesses are long-term or permanent, and often cause significant stress, pain and disability.  But with a focus that is upward (gratitude toward God) and outward (forgiving others), a satisfied and meaningful life is possible.
FACT: A resilient attitude, even more than good physical health, is related to successful aging. Researchers surveyed 1,006 randomly selected adults between the ages of 50 and 99 and found that those with low physical functioning but high resilience had comparable self-ratings of their degree of successful aging to those of physically healthy people who were less resilient.4
HOPE: Perfect physical health is neither necessary nor sufficient for successful aging.  By drawing on spiritual resources, such as meditating on God’s promises and turning problems over to Him, we can foster resilience and age successfully. 

  1. Svalina, S. S., & Webb. J. R. (2012). Forgiveness and health among people in outpatient physical therapy. Disability and Rehabilitation 34(5), 383-392.  http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2011.607216
  2. Engberg, H., Jeune, B., Andersen-Ranberg, K., Martinussen, T., Vaupel, J. W., & Christensen, K. (2013). Optimism and survival: does an optimistic outlook predict better survival at advanced ages? A twelve-year follow-up of Danish nonagenarians. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research 25, 517-525.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40520-013-0122-x
  3. Eaton, R. J., Bradley, G., & Morrissey, S. (August 8, 2013, Epub ahead of print). Positive predispositions, quality of life and chronic illness. Psychology, Health & Medicine.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2013.824593
  4. Jeste, D. V., Savla, G. N., Thompson, W. K., Vahia, I. V., Glorioso, D. K., Martin, A., Palmer, B. W., … Depp, C. A. (2013). Association between older age and more successful aging: Critical role of resilience and depression.  American Journal of Psychiatry, Feb 2013; 170(2), 188-196. http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12030386