Effects of Childhood Maltreatment on Executive Function in Adolescents and Young Adults 11 to 24 Years of Age
Douglas, Jennifer O.
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The human brain has the capacity to perceive and respond to innumerable environmental cues that include complex social-emotional summaries of experiences brought about when humans live together. Research suggests that there are varying degrees of adverse psychosocial and neuropsychological outcomes for those with a history of childhood maltreatment. The sequel of untreated childhood maltreatment contributes to physical and mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, impulsiveness, and aggression. Constant interference due to the stress and high cognitive load impairs the ability to self regulate. Chronic exposure to stressful events especially during a child's early years, can adversely affect executive function (EF) such as attention, memory, decision-making and cognition. Consequently, as children transition into adolescence, their ability to focus, organize, and process infonnation is decreased. Early adolescence is a period of significant brain growth and development, which means there is a window ofopportunity to educate and change the course of outcomes. Peplau"s Interpersonal Relations Theory (IPR) focuses on the relationship between the nurse and client as the core foundation of nursing care. Peplau indicated that human behavior can be understood by identifying psychobiological experiences that influence the functioning of personality. It is important to understand factors influencing brain development because brain development has foundational effects on shaping a person's life in tenns of personality and cognitive processes.