OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to estimate the relationship between exposure to physical violence administered by one's parents and adult health. In the process, the authors also examine factors that mediate and moderate this association. METHODS: Hypothesized relationships were tested using ordinary least squares regression analyses with data collected from a nationwide sample of adults aged 25 to 74 in 1995. RESULTS: The data suggest that exposure to childhood physical violence is associated with diminished mental and physical health in adulthood. These associations do not vary by respondent's age. Furthermore, the long-term effects of childhood physical violence are largely mediated by psychosocial resources. DISCUSSION: These results support the idea that the effects of childhood trauma may persist into later life. Therefore, in studying the antecedents of current health problems among adults, it may be necessary to consider the influence of events that have occurred throughout the entire life course.
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