Consequences of Early Childhood Distress

February 1st, 2012

“Ignoring their infants’ distress could lead to subsequent emotional dysregulation," writes Darcia Narvaez, Associate Professor of Psychology at Notre Dame University in a recently published post in Psychology Today.
Since infants have been hardwired for near-constant physical attachment, excessive separation distress in infants, resulting from parents ignoring their cries, could lead to permanent changes in their limbic brain structures.
A recent article published on my Psychology Today blog shows an overlap with the physiology of stress and trauma.
Resolution of the rapprochement crisis is considered by Mahler as an essential developmental requirement for the prevention of subsequent psychopathology.
In trauma research, manipulating "foraging patterns" has been used to study subsequent stress-responses and predict which cubs had experienced traumatic attachment models.
Predictable foraging and secure attachment bonding protects against subsequent PTSD and complex trauma.
Adults in combat have less likelihhood of being "overwhelmed by terror" when they bond closely with their fighting unit and commander.
Verbal and emotional validation during adulthood re-evokes the soothing experience of empathic early caretakers.”

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