Comparative research now provides a large body of useful information:
Hostile verbal abuse has been found to be similar to physical abuse in terms of negative impact upon children and psychological / emotinal unavailability has been found to be the most devastating of all maltreatment forms studied.
Spurning and denying emotional responses seems to be a substantial antecedent to the development of criminality in children.
Claussen and Crittenden found that psychological and emotioal abuse was a better predictor of detromental developmental outcomes in younger children than the severity of physical injury from abuse.
Verbal aggression by parents has been correlated with children expressing physical aggression, delinquency, and interpersonal problems.
Verbal aggression by parents is more strongly associated to these negative outcomes than was physical aggression and that physical aggression, unacompanied by verbal aggression, was minimal in its impact upon delinquency and interpersonal problems.
Over the lifecourse childhood psychological and emotional abuse is a stronger predictor than childhood physical abuse for both depression and low self-esteem in adulthood; psychological and emotional abuse bears a special relationships with maladjustment and is particularly strongly related to anxiety, depression, interpersonal sensitivity, dissociation, and low self-esteem; psychological and emotional abuse is the most prevalent form of abuse experienced by bulimics, occurring in more than 4 times the cases reported for physical abuse (Gross and Keller, 1992; Briere and Runtz, 1988,1990; Rorty, Yaeger, and Rossotto , 1994).
Mothers' histories of being rejected by a parent has been found to be highly related to rejection of her own infant, particularly if the mother displayed cognitive distortions such as idealisation of the rejecting parent, difficulty in remembering childhood, and incoherency in discussion attachment issues. Spurning and denying emotional responsiveness produce quite similar negative effects on children, including display of unpredictable bouts of aggressionand hostility, unsympathetic and sometimes violent responses to distress in others, and self-isolating behaviours.