Healthy Relationships May Prevent Depression In Abuse Survivors, Study Says, Which Is More Proof Love Does The Body Good

Survivors of child abuse not only get off to a rough start, but also, because of that those rough earlier days, tend to struggle in many ways as they get older. But while the world may not always feel like their oyster, a new study has good news for these victims. According to research, healthy romantic relationships later in life will protect survivors of child abuse from depression.

The study out of Colorado State University in Fort Collins followed 485 young adults for 12 years to see how abuse in their formative years would evolve in regards to their relationships with people and their own ability to withstand depression. As lead author, Kimberly Henry, found, there’s “no evidence that maltreatment reduces the likelihood that an individual will be in a stable, satisfying intimate partner relationship.” Just further proof that healthy relationships really are good for the body.

As the research team dug deeper, they also found that while both survivors and non-survivors of abuse flourished best, depression-free, when in a stable relationship, the length of the relationship only came into play for the non-survivors. For example, adults who had been abused as children didn’t require a specific amount of time in a relationship before they reaped the benefits of them, whereas those who never experienced any maltreatment in their childhood needed longer relationships in order for them to be protected against any form of depression.

What this means is that despite their childhood abuse, these survivors are resilient, maybe even more so than non-survivors. They’re able to pick up the pieces and move forward, and are capable of being in loving relationships that keep them safe from possible future mental disorders. This isn’t to suggest that this is a guarantee for all adults of childhood abuse, but it does offer hope that romantic relationships can aid in recovery, rebuild trust, and can provide a place for healing. The study hopes to identity these survivors early on so they work with patients to find relationships, as a way to help them escape any more pain.

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