Developmental Traumatology: Brain Development in Maltreated Children With and Without PTSD

  • Jacoba Rock
  • Charles F. Geier
  • Jennie G. Noll
  • Michael D. De Bellis
Part of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network book series (CMSN)


This chapter summarizes a presentation by Dr. Michael D. De Bellis for The Pennsylvania State University’s 4th Annual Conference for the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being, entitled “New Frontiers in the Biology of Stress, Maltreatment, and Trauma: Opportunities for Translation, Resilience, and Reversibility.” This presentation summary provides a conceptual framework for understanding key neurobiological developmental effects in maltreated children, considering the potential cognitive impact of these effects and comparing the development of maltreated children who do and do not develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Developmental differences of this nature can shed light on opportunities for building resilience and intervening early and successfully towards the prevention of further negative developmental impact. Gender differences are also considered, particularly the disparate impact to certain cortical regions for young maltreated males compared to females. A major aim of the presentation and this chapter is to inspire and guide future directions of research on developmental traumatology and offer hope towards opportunities for diverting maltreated children from future poor life outcomes.


PTSD Child maltreatment Developmental differences Gender differences Trauma Prefrontal cortex Corpus callosum Brain development 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacoba Rock
    • 1
  • Charles F. Geier
    • 1
  • Jennie G. Noll
    • 2
  • Michael D. De Bellis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  2. 2.The Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke University School of MedicineDurhamUSA

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