Adversity and Outcome

Children can suffer from family dysfunction, neglect, trauma, or poverty. Yet the outcome of these events is highly variable. Although adversities can sometimes be risk factors for adult mental disorders, there are few specific relationships between childhood experiences and illness categories. Most exposed children will not develop psychopathology later in life.

This chapter will ask whether there is any adverse experience in childhood that consistently leads to pathological sequelae. I will therefore review research on a number of specific adversities during childhood, each of which has been thought to increase the risk for adult symptoms. In every case, when the evidence linking risks to outcome is exposed ...

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