Child maltreatment, autonomic nervous system responsivity, and psychopathology: current state of the literature and future directions

Young-Southward, G., Svelnys, C., Gajwani, R., Bosquet Enlow, M. and Minnis, H. (2019) Child maltreatment, autonomic nervous system responsivity, and psychopathology: current state of the literature and future directions. Child Maltreatment, (doi:10.1177/1077559519848497) (PMID:31177826) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Child maltreatment may affect autonomic nervous system (ANS) responsivity, and ANS responsivity may influence the impact of child maltreatment on later outcomes including long-term mental/physical health. This review systematically evaluated the evidence regarding effects of maltreatment on ANS responsivity in children and examined how ANS responsivity may influence the association between maltreatment and psychopathology, with attention to relevant developmental issues. We searched the literature for relevant studies using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. We searched five electronic databases, performed key word searches in relevant journals, hand searched reference sections of relevant articles, and contacted experts in the field. Articles were extracted according to inclusion criteria and their quality assessed. The search produced 1,388 articles; 22 met inclusion criteria. Most of the studies suggested blunted cardiovascular responsivity generally and sympathetic activation specifically in response to stress in maltreated children compared to nonmaltreated children. Findings around vagal responsivity and skin conductance were mixed. Limited evidence was found for ANS responsivity as a moderator or mediator of psychopathology risk among maltreated children. Maltreatment may be associated with blunted sympathetic activation in stressful situations. Differences in ANS responsivity may influence psychopathology risk among maltreated children. Further research is needed to confirm the nature and magnitude of such effects.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Young-Southward, Ms Genevieve and Minnis, Professor Helen and Gajwani, Dr Ruchika
Authors: Young-Southward, G., Svelnys, C., Gajwani, R., Bosquet Enlow, M., and Minnis, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Child Maltreatment
Publisher:SAGE
ISSN:1077-5595
ISSN (Online):1552-6119
Published Online:09 June 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Child Maltreatment 2019
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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