Developmental Traumatology: Brain Development in Maltreated Children With and Without PTSD
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.
KeywordsPTSD Child maltreatment Developmental differences Gender differences Trauma Prefrontal cortex Corpus callosum Brain development
- Azar, S. T., Barnes, K. T., & Twentyman, C. T. (1988). Developmental outcomes in abused children: Consequences of parental abuse or a more general breakdown in caregiver behavior? Behavior Therapist, 11, 27–32.Google Scholar
- Green, A. (1985). Children traumatized by physical abuse. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
- Trickett, P. K., McBride-Chang, C., & Putnam, F. W. (1994). The classroom performance and behavior of sexually abused girls. Development and Psychopathology, 6, 183–194.Google Scholar