In Brief: Names will often hurt you

In Brief

Names will often hurt you

Published: April, 2007

The children's rhyme denies it, but it may be true. Words are weapons that can cause lasting wounds, especially when wielded by parents against children. The damage is sometimes more serious and lasting than injuries that result from beatings, say Harvard researchers reporting on a survey of young adults.

More than 500 people aged 18–22 who responded to an advertisement were asked whether their parents had ever yelled at them, sworn at them, insulted, threatened, or ridiculed them. Among those who reported no physical or sexual abuse, the researchers chose the 10% most often subject to this verbal abuse and compared them with controls.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »