The Neurobiology and Genetics of Childhood Maltreatment (Chapter 6 in Wiley Handbook of What Works in Child Maltreatment: An Evidence-Based Approach to Assessment and Intervention in Child Protection).
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A growing body of research has investigated how stress, and specifically different forms of childhood maltreatment, can influence neural structure and function. This chapter focuses on studies of children, first considering those that have investigated differences in brain structure followed by a number of studies that have investigated the potential impact of maltreatment on brain function. Adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who have histories of childhood maltreatment, an early form of stress, consistently report that these individuals have smaller hippocampal volumes. The prefrontal cortex plays a major role in the control of many aspects of behaviour, regulating cognitive and emotional processes through extensive interconnections with other cortical and subcortical regions. The corpus callosum (CC) is the largest white matter structure in the brain and controls inter-hemispheric communication of a host of processes, including, but not limited to, arousal, emotion and higher cognitive abilities. (Author abstract)
neurobiology; genetics; child abuse; cognitive development; child development; Adults abused as children; posttraumatic stress disorder; BRAIN DEVELOPMENT; STRESS