About this item:

90 Views | 33 Downloads

Author Notes:

Correspondence to Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, 1120 NW 14th Street #1455, Miami, FL, 33136, cnemeroff@med.miami.edu

All participants of the study were deemed to have the capacity to provide informed consent by study personnel. After a description of the study to participants, written informed consent was obtained. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Emory University School of Medicine.


Research Funding:

Support for this research was provided by a National Institute of Mental Health grant, MH-58922, which was awarded to Dr. Nemeroff.


  • ELS
  • Cognition
  • Child Abuse

The effects of child abuse and neglect on cognitive functioning in adulthood


Journal Title:

Journal of Psychiatric Research


Volume 46, Number 4


, Pages 500-506

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Aims: Recent research has revealed that early life trauma (ELS), including abuse (sexual and/or physical) and neglect, produce lasting changes in the CNS. We posited that cognitive deficits, often observed in psychiatric patients, result, in part, due to the neurobiological consequences of ELS. Additionally, we hypothesized that the nature and magnitude of cognitive deficits would differ according to the subtype of ELS experienced. Method: The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) was used to assess neurocognitive functioning in 93 subjects (60 with ELS and 33 without). In the patients with a history of ELS, 35% and 16.7%, respectively, met criteria for current major depression and PTSD. Results: Significant associations between ELS status and CANTAB measures of memory and executive and emotional functioning were found. Conclusions: These data suggest that exposure to ELS results in a cascade of neurobiological changes associated with cognitive deficits in adulthood that vary according to the type of trauma experienced.

Copyright information:

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Export to EndNote