Childhood exposure to violence and lifelong health: Clinical intervention science and stress-biology research join forces

Klaus-Grawe 2012 Think Tank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many young people who are mistreated by an adult, victimized by bullies, criminally assaulted, or who witness domestic violence react to this violence exposure by developing behavioral, emotional, or learning problems. What is less well known is that adverse experiences like violence exposure can lead to hidden physical alterations inside a child's body, alterations that may have adverse effects on life-long health. We discuss why this is important for the field of developmental psychopathology and for society, and we recommend that stress-biology research and intervention science join forces to tackle the problem. We examine the evidence base in relation to stress-sensitive measures for the body (inflammatory reactions, telomere erosion, epigenetic methylation, and gene expression) and brain (mental disorders, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological testing). We also review promising interventions for families, couples, and children that have been designed to reduce the effects of childhood violence exposure. We invite intervention scientists and stress-biology researchers to collaborate in adding stress-biology measures to randomized clinical trials of interventions intended to reduce effects of violence exposure and other traumas on young people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1619-1634
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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