InBrief: The Science of Neglect

Content in This Guide

Step 1: Toxic Stress 101

Step 2: The Science and Social Causes of Toxic Stress

Step 3: Preventing and Addressing Toxic Stress

Extensive biological and developmental research shows significant neglect—the ongoing disruption or significant absence of caregiver responsiveness—can cause more lasting harm to a young child’s development than overt physical abuse, including subsequent cognitive delays, impairments in executive functioning, and disruptions of the body’s stress response. This edition of the InBrief series explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation. This 6-minute video provides an overview of The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain, a Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.

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