The neurobiological toll of child abuse and neglect

Gretchen N. Neigh, Charles F. Gillespie, Charles Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

132 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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. Although early life trauma elevates the risk of psychiatric and medical disease, not all exposed individuals demonstrate altered HPA axis physiology, suggesting that genetic variation influences the consequences of trauma exposure. In addition, the effects of abuse may extend beyond the immediate victim into subsequent generations as a consequence of epigenetic effects transmitted directly to offspring and/or behavioral changes in affected individuals. Recognition of the biological consequences and transgenerational impact of violence and abuse has critical importance for both disease research and public health policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-410
Number of pages22
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

abuse of children
Child Abuse
trauma
neglect
abuse
Wounds and Injuries
violence
Psychiatry
Disease
physiology
Public Policy
Health Policy
Violence
Epigenomics
health policy
Public Health
public health
well-being
Research
Exposure to Violence

Keywords

  • Abuse
  • Corticotrophin releasing factor
  • Cortisol
  • Development
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

The neurobiological toll of child abuse and neglect. / Neigh, Gretchen N.; Gillespie, Charles F.; Nemeroff, Charles.

In: Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, Vol. 10, No. 4, 01.10.2009, p. 389-410.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Neigh, Gretchen N. ; Gillespie, Charles F. ; Nemeroff, Charles. / The neurobiological toll of child abuse and neglect. In: Trauma, Violence, and Abuse. 2009 ; Vol. 10, No. 4. pp. 389-410.
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