The Problem of Institutionalization of Young Children and Its Consequences for Efforts to Build Peaceful Societies

TitleThe Problem of Institutionalization of Young Children and Its Consequences for Efforts to Build Peaceful Societies
Publication TypeBook Chapter
AuthorsFox, Nathan A., Charles A. Nelson, and Charles H. Zeanah
EditorLeckman, James F., Catherine Panter-Brick, and Rima Salah
Institutionalization of children is a worldwide problem. The consequences of these deprived early experiences have been known for some time. Indeed, neuroscientists have long been aware of the effects of early adverse experience, particularly profound deprivation, on the developing brain. However, the majority of work to date has focused on examining the effects of experience on brain and brain development in rodents and nonhuman primates. In a rigorous attempt to examine how profound early neglect impacts the course of human development, we designed the Bucharest Early Intervention Project. The Bucharest Early Intervention Project is the first randomized controlled trial of family care intervention on young children institutionalized in infancy. The study is unique in that it includes measures of brain structure and function. Results suggest that early psychosocial deprivation has profound effects on gray matter structure that do not appear to remediate, although subtle intervention effects were observed for white matter volume. EEG activity was significantly affected by early psychosocial deprivation, but there appeared to be remediation of this functioning by the time children were eight years old and had spent close to six or seven years in families. The data from this project argue for changes in the manner in which societies address abandoned children. An important step toward building just and peaceful societies is to provide family-type care for young children instead of institutional life, as being raised in a family1 greatly (p.146) enhances a child’s skills in emotion regulation. The link to peaceful societies is through these processes.
Title The Problem of Institutionalization of Young Children and Its Consequences for Efforts to Build Peaceful Societies
Publication Title Pathways to peace: The transformative power of children and families
Publication Type Book Chapter
Published Year 2014
Publisher The MIT Press
Authors N.A. Fox; C.A. Nelson; C.H. Zeanah
Editors J.F. Leckman; C. Panter-Brick; R. Salah
Section 9
Grant List
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