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Child Sexual Abuse: The Interaction Between Brain, Body, and Mind

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During the past fifteen to twenty years, research on child sexual abuse has primarily focused on risk factors, particularly how Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) impact numerous health outcomes. However, despite the application of neurobiological theory in many of these studies, research is only beginning to ...

During the past fifteen to twenty years, research on child sexual abuse has primarily focused on risk factors, particularly how Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) impact numerous health outcomes. However, despite the application of neurobiological theory in many of these studies, research is only beginning to compare the emotional and physical consequences between the various kinds of adverse childhood events: Over the last three to four years, an increasing number of studies that explore sexual abuse have been undertaken by different disciplines. Research has found that the developmental phase in which the abuse occurs impacts the complexity and depth of psychosocial sequela. These studies also found that there are distinct differences between the emotional, physical and psychiatric consequences for children who have experienced sexual abuse when compared with the physical abuse experienced by survivors of other traumatic events.

This emerging data suggests that treatment modalities should be aimed at the timing of abuse as well as the nature of the abuse. Moreover, this data recommends translating neurobiological theories into evidence-based treatment modalities to mitigate the consequences of abuse. Overall, addressing today’s global child sexual abuse challenges requires multidisciplinary approaches which incorporate an understanding of the interaction between the brain, body and mind. These approaches include broadening and integrating our knowledge of risk factors, consequences and treatment modalities from various disciplines, in order to determine effective innovative solutions for the victims, their families and communities, as well as for policy makers.

The aim of this Research Topic is to present innovative studies that shed light on the varieties of childhood sexual abuse, their unique treatment challenges, as well as the interaction between brain, body and mind as exhibited in both short and long-term consequences. Empirical and conceptual studies across disciplines are welcome.


Keywords: Child Sexual Abuse, Consequences, Treatment, Brain-Body Modalities


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