Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences




This review investigates the link between childhood maltreatment and structural changes in the brain as well as psychopathology later on in life. Childhood maltreatment was compared to the time of onset of psychopathology and the severity of symptoms. The relationship between the type of trauma and socioemotional cognition was also analyzed. Childhood maltreatment is a serious problem that can hinder a child’s ability to develop into a healthy adult. Not only does it induce unhealthy amounts of stress on the child, but it also can negatively affect brain development. Many mental health problems can arise from childhood maltreatment, some minor, while others are debilitating. Those who experience severe or repeated trauma during childhood are more likely to experience lifelong psychopathology (Gould et al., 2012). This psychopathology may include but is not limited to depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, conduct disorder, dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Radford et al., 2017). This review showed that childhood maltreatment could be associated with changes in the volume of limbic system structures, the hippocampus and amygdala, along with alterations made to the connections between brain regions, such as the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. Furthermore, maltreatment could also be associated with a diagnosis of many different psychopathologies later on in life.