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Pathways to PeaceThe Transformative Power of Children and Families$
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James F. Leckman, Catherine Panter-Brick, and Rima Salah

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027984

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027984.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

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

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

Chapter:
(p.145) 9 The Problem of Institutionalization of Young Children and Its Consequences for Efforts to Build Peaceful Societies
Source:
Pathways to Peace
Author(s):

Nathan A. Fox

Charles A. Nelson

Charles H. Zeanah

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027984.003.0009

Institutionalization of children is a worldwide problem, and the consequences of these deprived early experiences have been known for some time. To examine how profound early neglect impacts the course of human development, we designed the Bucharest Early Intervention Project: the first randomized controlled trial of family care intervention on young children institutionalized in infancy. The Project 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. Project data 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 family greatly enhances a child’s skills in emotion regulation. The link to peaceful societies is through these processes. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.

Keywords:   institutionalization, brain development, regulation of emotions, early childhood interventions

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