Child Abuse and Neglect and the Brain—A Review
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, U.K.
Developmental psychology and the study of behaviour and emotion have tended to be considered in parallel to the study of neurobiological processes. This review explores the effects of child abuse and neglect on the brain, excluding nonaccidental injury that causes
gross physical trauma to the brain. It commences with a background summary of the nature, context, and some deleterious effects of omission and commission within child maltreatment.
There is no post-maltreatment syndrome, outcomes varying with many factors including nature, duration, and interpersonal context of the maltreatment as well as the nature of later intervention. There then follows a section on environmental influences on brain development, demonstrating the dependence of the orderly process of neurodevelopment on the child’s environment. Ontogenesis, or the development of the self through self-determination, proceeds in the context of…
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