The Neuroscience and Genetics of Childhood Maltreatment

Eamon McCrory*, Stephane A. De Brito, Essi Viding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Summary: Childhood maltreatment is associated with later psychopathology, including conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, anxiety, and depression. However, the neurobiological mechanisms by which childhood adversity heightens vulnerability to psychopathology remain poorly understood. There is likely to be a complex interaction between environmental experiences (such as maltreatment) and individual differences in risk versus protective genes, which influences the neurobiological circuitry underpinning psychological and emotional development. Brain imaging research in children and adults is providing evidence of several structural and functional brain differences associated with early adversity. These in turn are likely to be associated with patterns of psychological adaptation that may ultimately increase a child's risk for later psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChild Psychology and Psychiatry
Subtitle of host publicationFrameworks for Practice: Second Edition
PublisherWiley Interscience/John Wiley and Sons
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780470973820
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2011


  • Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)
  • Corpus callosum (CC)
  • Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
  • Event-related potential (ERP) studies
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS)
  • Prefrontal cortex (PFC)
  • Structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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