Early-life family discord or abuse ‘alters the brains of victims’

Closeup of a CT scan with brain The effect of major stress in childhood, caused by severe neglect or maltreatment such as persistent child abuse or sexual abuse, affects the brain of the adult victim; the resulting psychopathologies have been well-documented. That type of major stress has a UK prevalence rate of 16%. A much more common problem for a developing infant is family discord (prevalence rate of 41%). The effect on the brain of family-focused discord during infancy (studied later at adolescence) is the subject of this paper. Discord can be defined as significant arguments and tension between parents.

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