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Parenting controversies

Study: Emotional abuse puts kids at risk for schizophrenia

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A controversial new law proposal in England demands up to 10 years of jail time for parents who neglect or emotionally abuse their children. But according to a recent survey by the Netherlands' Maastrich University, the so-called "Cinderella law" may be justified.

The authors of the Maastrich study analyzed 41 previous studies on the correlation between psychosis and the emotional treatment of children. Emotional abuse was defined as "exposure to behavior such as harshness and name-calling from parents," while emotional neglect included "lack of love and responsiveness."

The findings were staggering: Children who were emotionally abused were 12 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than other children. The survey also found that 90 percent of children who had suffered emotional maltreatment early in life went on to develop some form of mental illness, such as depression or bipolar disorder.

Backers of the proposed law expect it will be included in the Queen's speech to the House of Commons in June.