About Adoptee Rage

Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Long-Term Effects in Emotion Processing From Maltreatment


Long-term Effects Emotional Processing in Neglected & Abused Children

This study outlines the cause and effect of adopted child's malfunctioning in the adoptive family

Long-term Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect on Emotion Processing in Adulthood

 A key component of social competence is emotion processing, which includes emotion perception, communication, interpretation, and regulation of emotion (). Emotions function to provide information about the environment and prepare for a behavioral response, triggering the appetitive or defensive systems, depending on the situation (). Theories of emotion suggest that behavioral responses to emotions are directly related to emotion processing (). This paper brings together research on child maltreatment, emotional development, and psychopathology to examine the consequences of child abuse and neglect for emotion processing in adulthood.

Childhood Maltreatment and Emotion Processing

In general, child maltreatment has been found to disrupt the normal process of emotional development. First, studies of maltreating parents suggest that they show less positive emotion and more negative emotion than non-abusive parents (). It is also believed that maltreating parents tend to be isolated themselves and to isolate their children from interaction with others, providing fewer nonparental models of emotional communication ().
Second, a child who receives inconsistent or harsh caregiving has difficulty predicting the consequences of his/her behavior () and this may be manifest in deficits in processing emotional information. For example, maltreated children have been found to show specific deficits in understanding (), recognizing (), and expressing emotion () and are at risk for exhibiting social delays (), deficits in empathy (), and decreased engagement in prosocial behavior (). These findings reveal general deficits in emotion processing in maltreated children, but the question remains about whether these deficits would persist into adulthood.
Using tests of facial emotion recognition (FER),  found that children with physical abuse histories were better able to identify facial displays of anger compared to controls. Several other studies using event-related potentials and behavioral evidence have found a sensitivity bias to perceive anger in physically abused children () and, more generally, in a sample of maltreated children (). In an attempt to explain these findings, suggested that in abusive home environments children learn to associate anger with threat of harm and therefore, they are hypervigilant to anger in their environment.  elaborated on this theory to suggest that maltreated children become better prepared to identify threatening situations through hypervigilance of emotions. For example, these children may be more sensitive to anger in their abuser and fear of those around them because both sensitivities could help them identify threat quickly and potentially avoid additional abuse (). Consistent with these theories,  have shown that maltreated children show enhanced selective attention to angry facial expressions posed by their mothers. Thus, this body of research would suggest that individuals with histories of childhood physical abuse might be less likely to show deficits in processing negative emotional pictures and more likely to show deficits for pictures with positive or neutral valence.
Very little research has examined emotion recognition in neglected children. In earlier research,  found that neglecting parents were less expressive and engaged with little exchange of affective information in interactions with their children and, thus, provided less support in learning to understand emotions more generally. Impoverished social and emotional environments, which are often present in cases of neglect, prevent the development of normal emotional skills () and may cause a blunted pattern of emotional reactivity (). reported that neglected children had more difficulty in recognizing emotional expressions in a vignette than a control group or physically abused children. When rating the similarity between facial expressions of different emotions, neglected children saw fewer distinctions between emotions compared to the other two groups (). However, this is the only study to investigate emotion perception deficits specific to neglected children. Most studies have included only physically abused children or maltreated children (i.e. physically abused and/or neglected children). To our knowledge, no studies have focused on sexually abused children, and the existing literature is based almost exclusively on studies of children, with no research investigating the long-term effects of childhood abuse and neglect on adult emotion processing ability.

Potential Mechanisms Linking Childhood Maltreatment and Emotion Processing

If the impact of child abuse and neglect on emotion processing extends into adulthood, what might be some of mechanisms that lead to these outcomes? Research has increasingly shown that childhood abuse and neglect can result in a cascade of negative consequences across multiple domains of functioning () that might explain an increased risk for deficits in emotion processing abilities for individuals with histories of child abuse and/or neglect. Specifically, child abuse and neglect has been associated with cognitive deficits in general and various forms of psychopathology that may lead to emotion processing deficits.
First, several studies have reported that abused and neglected children are at increased risk for lower academic performance and intelligence in childhood () and that these effects of childhood maltreatment extend into young adulthood (). Thus, it is possible that deficits in intelligence lead to general deficits in performance on processing tasks, particularly those that involve memory, and this finding may help explain why maltreated children perform worse on these tasks.
It is also possible that some of the psychological consequences that have been associated with child abuse and neglect have a negative impact on performance on emotion processing tasks in adulthood. For example, individuals with histories of abuse have been found to exhibit more symptoms of anxiety disorders (). A separate body of research reveals that individuals with higher levels of anxiety symptoms show deficits in emotion perception () and emotion regulation (), and individuals with PTSD have shown an attentional bias to trauma-related stimuli (). In work by , certain emotional cues become salient indicators of threat. Thus, in an emotion processing task, highly anxious individuals might be more likely to perform poorly on emotion processing tasks.
Childhood maltreatment has also been associated with increased risk for depression (). In turn, a separate body of research suggests that individuals with depression exhibit deficits in regulating emotions () and perceiving emotion in others (). Therefore, it is possible that maltreated children may have difficulty recognizing emotions as a function of higher levels of depression ().
At present, it is unclear whether the association between child maltreatment and deficits in processing of emotion would persist, independent of the effects of psychopathology. In one of the few studies to address this issue,  focused on how PTSD might relate to maltreated children’s processing of emotions and found that maltreated children displayed a heightened ability (faster reaction time compared to controls) to identify fearful faces, independent of PTSD diagnosis. These findings with children suggest that maltreatment is uniquely related to emotion processing deficits, regardless of PTSD symptomatology.
In addition to internalizing consequences of child abuse and neglect, there is also a body of research that has linked childhood maltreatment to externalizing traits, including antisocial behavior and psychopathy (). A number of studies have also reported emotion processing deficits in individuals with antisocial and psychopathic traits (), including deficits in empathy (), experiencing of emotion (), and identifying emotional expressions (). Antisocial individuals have been found to show specific deficits in perceiving negative emotions in facial expressions and to be less accurate in identifying emotions of fear or sadness than emotions of happiness or surprise (). Maltreated children may show emotion processing deficits in adulthood through higher levels of psychopathic traits, reflecting greater desensitization, less empathy, or less responsiveness to the needs of others (), critical characteristics of psychopaths. In sum, there are a number of plausible mechanisms that might explain deficits in emotional processing in adults with histories of childhood abuse and neglect and warrant investigation.