Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: May 2010

12 - Ontogenetic Perspectives on the Neurobiological Basis of Psychopathology Following Abuse and Neglect

Summary

INTRODUCTION

The US Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as the recent act or failure of parents and caretakers resulting in physical or emotional injury, sexual exploitation, and/or death. According to national statistics on the prevalence of childhood abuse and neglect in the United States, 905,000 people under 18 years of age were victimized during 2006. Of these, 64.1% were neglected; 16.0% were physically abused; and 15.1% suffered abandonment, threats of harm, congenital drug addiction, or other forms of maltreatment. Furthermore, 8.8% were sexually abused; 6.6% were either emotionally or psychologically maltreated; and 2.2% were medically neglected.

Childhood maltreatment is a major risk factor for the development of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder (BPD), personality disorders, and aggression. Depending on an individual's sex, genetic makeup, and age at insult, chronic childhood traumatic stress (CTS) alters the endocrine profile and gene-expression pattern, as well as the functional activity, hemispheric integration, and morphology of the brain. In this chapter, we offer a holistic portrayal of the pathways between maltreatment and adverse psychiatric outcomes, arguing that the impact of abuse and neglect is best understood in the context of normal ontogenetic processes relating to trajectories of brain development.

NEUROPSYCHIATRIC EFFECTS OF TRAUMA

Several studies have documented the consequences of exposure to CTS. One of the most compelling is the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study, led by Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda (Felitti et al., 1998).

REFERENCES
Anda, R. F., Felitti, V. J., Bremner, J. D., Walker, J. D., Whitfield, C., Perry, B. D., et al. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood: A convergence of evidence from neurobiology and epidemiology. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 256(3), 174–186.
Andersen, S. L. (2003). Trajectories of brain development: Point of vulnerability or window of opportunity?Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 27(1–2), 3–18.
Andersen, S. L., & Teicher, M. H. (2004). Delayed effects of early stress on hippocampal development. Neuropsychopharmacology, 29(11), 1988–1993.
Andersen, S. L., & Teicher, M. H. (2008a). Desperately driven and no brakes: Developmental stress exposure and subsequent risk for substance abuse. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 33(4), 516–524.
Andersen, S. L., & Teicher, M. H. (2008b). Stress, sensitive periods and maturational events in adolescent depression. Trends in Neuroscience, 31(4), 183–191.
Andersen, S. L., Tomoda, A., Vincow, E. S., Valente, E., Polcari, A., & Teicher, M. H. (2008). Preliminary evidence for sensitive periods in the effect of childhood sexual abuse on regional brain development. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 20(3), 292–301.
Anderson, C. M., Kaufman, M. J., Lowen, S. B., Rohan, M., Renshaw, P. F., & Teicher, M. H. (2005). Brain T2 relaxation times correlate with regional cerebral blood volume. Magma, 18(1), 3–6.
Anderson, C. M., Teicher, M. H., Polcari, A., & Renshaw, P. F. (2002). Abnormal T2 relaxation time in the cerebellar vermis of adults sexually abused in childhood: Potential role of the vermis in stress-enhanced risk for drug abuse. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 27(1–2), 231–244.
Berman, A. J. (1997). Amelioration of aggression: Response to selective cerebellar lesions in the rhesus monkey. International Review of Neurobiology, 41, 111–119.
Berrebi, A. S., Fitch, R. H., Ralphe, D. L., Denenberg, J. O., Friedrich, V. L.., & Denenberg, V. H. (1988). Corpus callosum: Region-specific effects of sex, early experience and age. Brain Research, 438(1–2), 216–224.
Bremner, J. D., Randall, P., Vermetten, E., Staib, L., Bronen, R. A., Mazure, C., et al. (1997). Magnetic resonance imaging-based measurement of hippocampal volume in posttraumatic stress disorder related to childhood physical and sexual abuse – a preliminary report. Biological Psychiatry, 41(1), 23–32.
Bremner, J. D., & Vermetten, E. (2001). Stress and development: Behavioral and biological consequences. Development and Psychopathology, 13(3), 473–489.
Bremner, J. D., Vythilingam, M., Vermetten, E., Southwick, S. M., McGlashan, T., Staib, L. H., et al. (2003). Neural correlates of declarative memory for emotionally valenced words in women with posttraumatic stress disorder related to early childhood sexual abuse. Biological Psychiatry, 53(10), 879–889.
Carrion, V. G., Weems, C. F., Eliez, S., Patwardhan, A., Brown, W., Ray, R. D., et al. (2001). Attenuation of frontal asymmetry in pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 50(12), 943–951.
Carter, C. S. (2005). The chemistry of child neglect: Do oxytocin and vasopressin mediate the effects of early experience?Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(51), 18247–18248.
Caspi, A., McClay, J., Moffitt, T. E., Mill, J., Martin, J., Craig, I. W., et al. (2002). Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children. Science, 297(5582), 851–854.
Caspi, A., Sugden, K., Moffitt, T. E., Taylor, A., Craig, I. W., Harrington, H., et al. (2003). Influence of life stress on depression: Moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT gene. Science, 301(5631), 386–389.
Castellanos, F. X., Giedd, J. N., Berquin, P. C., Walter, J. M., Sharp, W., Tran, T., et al. (2001). Quantitative brain magnetic resonance imaging in girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(3), 289–295.
Choi, J., Jeong, B., Rohan, M. L., Polcari, A. M., & Teicher, M. H. (2009). Preliminary evidence for white matter tract abnormalities in young adults exposed to parental verbal abuse. Biological Psychiatry, 65(3), 227–234.
Cooper, I. S., & Upton, A. R. (1985). Therapeutic implications of modulation of metabolism and functional activity of cerebral cortex by chronic stimulation of cerebellum and thalamus. Biological Psychiatry, 20(7), 811–813.
Bellis, M. D. (2002). Developmental traumatology: A contributory mechanism for alcohol and substance use disorders. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 27(1–2), 155–170.
Bellis, M. D., Baum, A. S., Birmaher, B., Keshavan, M. S., Eccard, C. H., Boring, A. M., et al. (1999). Developmental traumatology. Part I: Biological stress systems. Biological Psychiatry, 45(10), 1259–1270.
Bellis, M. D., Keshavan, M. S., Clark, D. B., Casey, B. J., Giedd, J. N., Boring, A. M., et al. (1999). Developmental traumatology. Part II: Brain development. Biological Psychiatry, 45(10), 1271–1284.
Bellis, M. D., Keshavan, M. S., Shifflett, H., Iyengar, S., Beers, S. R., Hall, J., et al. (2002). Brain structures in pediatric maltreatment-related posttraumatic stress disorder: A sociodemographically matched study. Biological Psychiatry, 52(11), 1066–1078.
Bellis, M. D., Keshavan, M. S., Spencer, S., & Hall, J. (2000). N-Acetylaspartate concentration in the anterior cingulate of maltreated children and adolescents with PTSD. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157(7), 1175–1177.
Bellis, M. D., & Kuchibhatla, M. (2006). Cerebellar volumes in pediatric maltreatment-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 60(7), 697–703.
Driessen, M., Herrmann, J., Stahl, K., Zwaan, M., Meier, S., Hill, A., et al. (2000). Magnetic resonance imaging volumes of the hippocampus and the amygdala in women with borderline personality disorder and early traumatization. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57(12), 1115–1122.
Dube, S. R., Felitti, V. J., Dong, M., Chapman, D. P., Giles, W. H., & Anda, R. F. (2003). Childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction and the risk of illicit drug use: The adverse childhood experiences study. Pediatrics, 111(3), 564–572.
Ducci, F., Enoch, M. A., Hodgkinson, C., Xu, K., Catena, M., Robin, R. W., et al. (2008). Interaction between a functional MAOA locus and childhood sexual abuse predicts alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder in adult women. Molecular Psychiatry, 13(3), 334–347.
Duncan, G. L., & Magnuson, K. A. (2003). Off with Hollingshead: Socioeconomic resources, parenting, and child development. In Bornstein, M. H. & Bradley, R. H. (Eds.), Socioeconomic status, parenting, and child development (pp. 83–106). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Farah, M. J., Betancourt, L., Shera, D. M., Savage, J. H., Giannetta, J. M., Brodsky, N. L., et al. (2008). Environmental stimulation, parental nurturance and cognitive development in humans. Developmental Science, 11(5), 793–801.
Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., et al. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258.
Ferguson, S. A., & Holson, R. R. (1999). Neonatal dexamethasone on day 7 in rats causes mild hyperactivity and cerebellar stunting. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 21, 71–76.
Fergusson, D. M., Boden, J. M., & Horwood, L. J. (2008). Exposure to childhood sexual and physical abuse and adjustment in early adulthood. Child Abuse and Neglect, 32(6), 607–619.
Fields, R. D., & Nelson, P. G. (1992). Activity-dependent development of the vertebrate nervous system. International Review of Neurobiology, 34, 133–214.
Fries, A. B., Ziegler, T. E., Kurian, J. R., Jacoris, S., & Pollak, S. D. (2005). Early experience in humans is associated with changes in neuropeptides critical for regulating social behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(47), 17237–17240.
Giedd, J. N. (2008). The teen brain: Insights from neuroimaging. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(4), 335–343.
Giedd, J. N., Blumenthal, J., Jeffries, N. O., Rajapakse, J. C., Vaituzis, A. C., Liu, H., et al. (1999). Development of the human corpus callosum during childhood and adolescence: A longitudinal MRI study. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 23(4), 571–588.
Gould, E., & Tanapat, P. (1999). Stress and hippocampal neurogenesis. Biological Psychiatry, 46(11), 1472–1479.
Grassi-Oliveira, R., Stein, L. M., Lopes, R. P., Teixeira, A. L., & Bauer, M. E. (2008). Low plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor and childhood physical neglect are associated with verbal memory impairment in major depression – a preliminary report. Biological Psychiatry, 64(4), 281–285.
Harlow, H. F., & Harlow, M. (1966). Learning to love. American Scientist, 54(3), 244–272.
Heath, R. G. (1972). Electroencephalographic studies in isolation-raised monkeys with behavioral impairment. Diseases of the Nervous System, 33(3), 157–163.
Heim, C., & Nemeroff, C. B. (2002). Neurobiology of early life stress: Clinical studies. Seminars in Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 7(2), 147–159.
Heim, C., Newport, D. J., Mletzko, T., Miller, A. H., & Nemeroff, C. B. (2008). The link between childhood trauma and depression: Insights from HPA axis studies in humans. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 33(6), 693–710.
Huizinga, D., Haberstick, B. C., Smolen, A., Menard, S., Young, S. E., Corley, R. P., et al. (2006). Childhood maltreatment, subsequent antisocial behavior, and the role of monoamine oxidase A genotype. Biological Psychiatry, 60(7), 677–683.
Ito, Y., Teicher, M. H., Glod, C. A., & Ackerman, E. (1998). Preliminary evidence for aberrant cortical development in abused children: A quantitative EEG study. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 10, 298–307.
Ito, Y., Teicher, M. H., Glod, C. A., Harper, D., Magnus, E., & Gelbard, H. A. (1993). Increased prevalence of electrophysiological abnormalities in children with psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 5, 401–408.
Jackowski, A. P., Douglas-Palumberi, H., Jackowski, M., Win, L., Schultz, R. T., Staib, L. W., et al. (2008). Corpus callosum in maltreated children with posttraumatic stress disorder: A diffusion tensor imaging study. Psychiatry Research, 162(3), 256–261.
Kaplow, J. B., & Widom, C. S. (2007). Age of onset of child maltreatment predicts long-term mental health outcomes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116(1), 176–187.
Kaufman, J., Yang, B. Z., Douglas-Palumberi, H., Houshyar, S., Lipschitz, D., Krystal, J. H., et al. (2004). Social supports and serotonin transporter gene moderate depression in maltreated children. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(49), 17316–17321.
Koenen, K. C., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Taylor, A., & Purcell, S. (2003). Domestic violence is associated with environmental suppression of IQ in young children. Development and Psychopathology, 15(2), 297–311.
Lauder, J. M. (1983). Hormonal and humoral influences on brain development. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 8(2), 121–155.
Lawson, A., Ahima, R. S., Krozowski, Z., & Harlan, R. E. (1992). Postnatal development of corticosteroid receptor immunoreactivity in the rat cerebellum and brain stem. Neuroendocrinology, 55, 695–707.
Lenroot, R. K., & Giedd, J. N. (2006). Brain development in children and adolescents: Insights from anatomical magnetic resonance imaging. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 30(6), 718–729.
Lewis, D. O., Pincus, J. H., Bard, B., Richardson, E., Prichep, L. S., Feldman, M., et al. (1988). Neuropsychiatric, psychoeducational, and family characteristics of 14 juveniles condemned to death in the United States. American Journal of Psychiatry, 145(5), 584–589.
Mason, W. A., & Berkson, G. (1975). Effects of maternal mobility on the development of rocking and other behaviors in rhesus monkeys: A study with artificial mothers. Developmental Psychobiology, 8(3), 197–211.
Navalta, C. P., Polcari, A., Webster, D. M., Boghossian, A., & Teicher, M. H. (2006). Effects of childhood sexual abuse on neuropsychological and cognitive function in college women. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 18(1), 45–53.
Nemeroff, C. B. (2004). Neurobiblogical consequences of childhood trauma. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 65, 18–28.
Patel, T. D., Azmitia, E. C., & Zhou, F. C. (1996). Increased 5-HT1A receptor immunoreactivity in the rat hippocampus following 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine lesions in the cingulum bundle and fimbria-fornix. Behavioural Brain Research, 73(1–2), 319–323.
Post, R. M., Leverich, G. S., Xing, G., & Weiss, R. B. (2001). Developmental vulnerabilities to the onset and course of bipolar disorder. Development and Psychopathology, 13(3), 581–598.
Prescott, J. W. (1980). Somatosensory affectional deprivation (SAD) theory of drug and alcohol use. NIDA Research Monograph, 30, 286–296.
Putnam, F. W. (2003). Ten-year research update review: Child sexual abuse. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(3), 269–278.
Richert, K. A., Carrion, V. G., Karchemskiy, A., & Reiss, A. L. (2006). Regional differences of the prefrontal cortex in pediatric PTSD: An MRI study. Depression and Anxiety, 23(1), 17–25.
Sanchez, M. M., Young, L. J., Plotsky, P. M., & Insel, T. R. (2000). Distribution of corticosteroid receptors in the rhesus brain: Relative absence of glucocorticoid receptors in the hippocampal formation. Journal of Neuroscience, 20(12), 4657–4668.
Sapolsky, R. M., Uno, H., Rebert, C. S., & Finch, C. E. (1990). Hippocampal damage associated with prolonged glucocorticoid exposure in primates. Journal of Neuroscience, 10, 2897–2902.
Schiffer, F., Teicher, M. H., & Papanicolaou, A. C. (1995). Evoked potential evidence for right brain activity during the recall of traumatic memories. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 7, 169–175.
Snider, S. R., & Snider, R. S. (1982). Structural and functional relationships betwen cerebellum and catecholamine systems: An overview. Experimental Brain Research (Suppl 6).
Spence, S. H., Najman, J. M., Bor, W., O'Callaghan, M. J., & Williams, G. M. (2002). Maternal anxiety and depression, poverty and marital relationship factors during early childhood as predictors of anxiety and depressive symptoms in adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43(4), 457–469.
Stein, M. B. (1997). Hippocampal volume in women victimized by childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Medicine, 27(4), 951–959.
Sternberg, K. J., Lamb, M. E., Guterman, E., & Abbott, C. B. (2006). Effects of early and later family violence on children's behavior problems and depression: A longitudinal, multi-informant perspective. Child Abuse and Neglect, 30(3), 283–306.
Teicher, M. H., Andersen, S. L., Dumont, N. L., Ito, Y., Glod, C. A., Vaituzis, C., et al. (2000). Childhood neglect attentuates development of the corpus callosum. Society for Neuroscience Abstract, 26, 549.
Teicher, M. H., Andersen, S. L., Polcari, A., Anderson, C. M., & Navalta, C. P. (2002). Developmental neurobiology of childhood stress and trauma. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 25(2), 397–426.
Teicher, M. H., Andersen, S. L., Polcari, A., Anderson, C. M., Navalta, C. P., & Kim, D. M. (2003). The neurobiological consequences of early stress and childhood maltreatment. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 27(1–2), 33–44.
Teicher, M. H., Glod, , Surrey, C. A., Swett, J., Jr, C.. (1993). Early childhood abuse and limbic system ratings in adult psychiatric outpatients. Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, 5(3), 301–306.
Teicher, M. H., Ito, Y., Glod, C. A., Andersen, S. L., Dumont, N., & Ackerman, E. (1997). Preliminary evidence for abnormal cortical development in physically and sexually abused children using EEG coherence and MRI. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 821, 160–175.
Teicher, M. H., Samson, J. A., Polcari, A., & Andersen, S. L. (2009). Length of time between onset of childhood sexual abuse and emergence of depression in a young adult sample. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 70(5), 684–691.
Teicher, M. H., Samson, J. A., Polcari, A., & McGreenery, C. E. (2006). Sticks, stones, and hurtful words: Relative effects of various forms of childhood maltreatment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(6), 993–1000.
Teicher, M. H., Tomoda, A., & Andersen, S. L. (2006). Neurobiological consequences of early stress and childhood maltreatment: Are results from human and animal studies comparable?Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1071, 313–323.
Thatcher, R. W., Walker, R. A., & Giudice, S. (1987). Human cerebral hemispheric development at different rates and ages. Science, 236, 1110–1113.
Vermetten, E., Schmahl, C., Lindner, S., Loewenstein, R. J., & Bremner, J. D. (2006). Hippocampal and amygdalar volumes in dissociative identity disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(4), 630–636.
Volkow, N. D., Wang, G. J., Ma, Y., Fowler, J. S., Zhu, W., Maynard, L., et al. (2003). Expectation enhances the regional brain metabolic and the reinforcing effects of stimulants in cocaine abusers. Journal of Neuroscience, 23(36), 11461–11468.
Vythilingam, M., Heim, C., Newport, J., Miller, A. H., Anderson, E., Bronen, R., et al. (2002). Childhood trauma associated with smaller hippocampal volume in women with major depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(12), 2072–2080.
Wallace, G. L., Eric Schmitt, J., Lenroot, R., Viding, E., Ordaz, S., Rosenthal, M. A., et al. (2006). A pediatric twin study of brain morphometry. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(10), 987–993.
Weder, N., Yang, B. Z., Douglas-Palumberi, H., Massey, J., Krystal, J. H., Gelernter, J., et al. (2008). MAOA genotype, maltreatment, and aggressive behavior: The changing impact of genotype at varying levels of trauma. Biological Psychiatry, 65(5), 417–424.
Widom, C. S., & Brzustowicz, L. M. (2006). MAOA and the “cycle of violence”: Childhood abuse and neglect, MAOA genotype, and risk for violent and antisocial behavior. Biological Psychiatry, 60(7), 684–689.
Wilens, T. E., Biederman, J., & Mick, E. (1998). Does ADHD affect the course of substance abuse? Findings from a sample of adults with and without ADHD. American Journal of Addictions, 7(2), 156–163.
Yurgelun-Todd, D. (2007). Emotional and cognitive changes during adolescence. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 17(2), 251–257.