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Psychobiology of Neglect

NCJ Number
Child Maltreatment Volume: 10 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2005 Pages: 150-172
Michael D. De Bellis
Date Published
May 2005
23 pages
This article outlines the issues involved in the psychobiological research of child neglect with a review of preclinical and clinical studies and recommendations for future research.
Even though child neglect is an extremely prevalent form of child maltreatment, it is an area least empirically studied. This article describes child neglect as being associated with adverse psychological and educational outcomes. However, psychobiological research in neglected children is difficult because neglected children may suffer from different subtypes of neglect and adversities other than neglect. This article comprehensively outlines the issues involved in psychobiological research of child neglect, specifically the development of reliable and valid operational definitions and measures of neglect. The article is limited to studies of neglected children as defined by the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, as well as corresponding State laws. The article is also limited to reviews of studies of neglected children referred to Child Protective Services. Results of recent neuroimaging studies of maltreated children are presented which may provide a basis for understanding the early effects of neglect on childhood brain development. Suggestions for future research opportunities are discussed. References