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Developmental traumatology: The psychobiological development of maltreated children and its implications for research, treatment, and policy

  • MICHAEL D. DE BELLIS (a1) (a2)


In this review, a developmental traumatology model of child maltreatment and the risk for the intergenerational cycle of abuse and neglect using a mental health or posttraumatic stress model was described. Published data were reviewed that support the hypothesis that the psychobiological sequelae of child maltreatment may be regarded as an environmentally induced complex developmental disorder. Data to support this view, including the descriptions of both psychobiological and brain maturation studies in maltreatment research, emphasizing the similarities and differences between children, adolescents, and adults, were reviewed. Many suggestions for important future psychobiological and brain maturation research investigations as well as public policy ideas were offered.


Corresponding author

Michael D. De Bellis, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Director, Developmental Traumatology Neuroimaging Laboratory, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; E-mail:


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