Although the association between childhood maltreatment and the subsequent development of offending behavior is well documented, the association does not necessarily reflect a causal relationship. This paper provides a systematic review of prospective and longitudinal studies using official records of maltreatment to gain insights into the extent to which methodological variations are likely to influence the conclusions drawn about the likely relationship between maltreatment and offending. Sixty-two original studies met the inclusion criteria.
Research has consistently demonstrated a link between the experience of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adult health conditions, including mental and physical health problems. While a focus on the prevention or mitigation of adversity in childhood is an important direction of many programs, many individuals do not access support services until adulthood, when health problems may be fairly engrained. It is not clear which interventions have the strongest evidence base to support the many adults who present to services with a history of ACEs.
Definitions of psychological abuse are reviewed and a new definition proposed, operationalized as an extension of an existing measure of childhood, the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA). This semistructured, investigator-based interview is designed for use with adults to collect retrospective accounts of childhood adverse experience. The CECA extension identifies nine subtypes of psychological abuse, with a single global severity rating.
A new retrospective interview assessment of childhood psychological abuse, an extension to the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA) instrument, is described in a companion article (Moran, Bifulco, Ball, Jacobs, & Benaim, 2002). The purpose of the present article is to examine the relationship of childhood psychological abuse to other adverse childhood experiences and to major depression and suicidal behavior in adult life. Childhood experience and lifetime disorder were assessed retrospectively in a high-risk, community series of London women (n = 204).
The Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry
Functional capacities, such as attachment and affect regulation, object relations capacity, symbolic function and language development, now documented by neuroscientific research and epigenetics, are reviewed. Results from this research, together with other factors, are posited to have contributed to effective contemporary psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic treatments for the psychoses and schizophrenias.
Early life stress (child and adolescent abuse, neglect and trauma) induces robust alterations in emotional and social functioning resulting in enhanced risk for the development of psychopathologies such as mood and aggressive disorders. Here, an overview is given on recent findings in primate and rodent models of early life stress, demonstrating that chronic deprivation of early maternal care as well as chronic deprivation of early physical interactions with peers are profound risk factors for the development of inappropriate aggressive behaviors.
Exposure to interpersonal violence or abuse affects the physical and emotional well-being of affected individuals. In particular, exposure to trauma during development increases the risk of psychiatric and other medical disorders beyond the risks associated with adult violence exposure. Alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a major mediating pathway of the stress response, contribute to the long-standing effects of early life trauma.
The major psychotic disorders schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are etiologically complex involving both heritable and nonheritable factors. The absence of consistently replicated major genetic effects, together with evidence for lasting changes in gene expression after environmental exposures, is consistent with the concept that the biologic underpinnings of these disorders are epigenetic in form rather than DNA sequence based.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines
The neurobiological mechanisms by which childhood maltreatment heightens vulnerability to psychopathology remain poorly understood. It is likely that a complex interaction between environmental experiences (including poor caregiving) and an individual's genetic make-up influence neurobiological development across infancy and childhood, which in turn sets the stage for a child's psychological and emotional development. This review provides a concise synopsis of those studies investigating the neurobiological and genetic factors associated with childhood maltreatment and adversity.
Among people exposed to major psychological stressors in early life, there are elevated rates of morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases of aging. The most compelling data come from studies of children raised in poverty or maltreated by their parents, who show heightened vulnerability to vascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and premature mortality. These findings raise challenging theoretical questions. How does childhood stress get under the skin, at the molecular level, to affect risk for later diseases?