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Impact of childhood abuse: Biopsychosocial pathways through which adult mental health is compromised


Author(s)Coates, Dominiek
Title Impact of childhood abuse: biopsychosocial pathways through which adult mental health is compromised
Source Australian Social Work,2010, Vol 63, No. 4, pp 391-403
Date 2010
Document type Journal article
Summary In this article the author discusses the long-term difficulties experienced by adult victims of child abuse in relation to the neurobiological impacts of child abuse on the child's developing brain. Research has established a link between a history of childhood abuse and neglect and neuro-endocrine impacts. For many victims of child abuse a state of hyper-arousal persists through their adult years. Child abuse impacts on a child's developing brain and in particular the limbic system. The implications of these findings for social work practice are further explored. For example, arousal reduction strategies such as breathing exercises are recommended to assist victims in maintaining low stress hormone levels. Another area that is recommended counsellors explore is enhancing the communication between the left and right hemispheres by teaching victims strategies that strengthen the corpus callosum.
Keywords Child abuse; sexual assault; biopsychosocial model; trauma
Topic Psychological effects and treatment