Child maltreatment and the developing brain: A review of neuroscience perspectives
In this article we review neuroscience perspectives on child maltreatment to facilitate understanding of the rapid integration of neuroscience knowledge into the academic, clinical, and lay literature on this topic. Seminal articles from developmental psychology and psychiatry, a discussion of brain plasticity, and a summary of recent reviews of research on stress system dysregulation are presented with some attention to methodological issues. A common theme is that maltreatment during childhood is an experience that may affect the course of brain development, potentially leading to differences in brain anatomy and functioning with lifelong consequences for mental health. The design of prevention and intervention strategies for child maltreatment may benefit from considering neuroscience perspectives along with those of other disciplines.