Understanding the Behavioral and Emotional Consequences of Child Abuse

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Children who were abused or neglected in their early years are likely to display behavioral problems such as emotional instability, depression and aggression long after they have been removed from their abusive or neglectful environment, say experts.

Brain research has shown that early abuse results in changes in physiological response to stressful stimuli, a response that negatively affects a child's subsequent socialization. The authors call on pediatricians to help caregivers detect the presence of altered behavioral responses in abused or neglected children, help adults and children formulate more effective coping mechanisms, and mobilize available community resources. The article appeared in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics. Free, nine pages. (847) 434-4000, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/122/3/667.