18, No. 1
Neglect: Is It Trauma?
Neglect is a form of trauma because the stress responses that occur in the brain from a lack of care are the same as those that occur when a physical threat occurs (DeBellis, 2005). Neglect puts children at risk for other forms of trauma. Neglected children often need more medical attention and may have trauma related to medical procedures. In addition, neglected children often have more behavior problems, which can lead to a greater risk of physical abuse.
For all these reasons, we must include neglect in our ongoing dialogue about trauma and ensure that neglect is considered as we build a more trauma-informed child welfare system.