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29-11-2019 | Review Paper | Uitgave 5/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 5/2020

Facial Emotion Recognition in Maltreated Children: A Systematic Review

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 5/2020
Auteurs:
Mariana Medeiros Assed, Tatiana Cohab Khafif, Gabriel Okawa Belizario, Raquel Fatorelli, Cristiana Castanho de Ameida Rocca, Antonio de Pádua Serafim
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Objectives

We systematically reviewed controlled studies published in the last 16 years about emotion recognition deficits in maltreated children.

Methods

A bibliographical research of controlled studies, including only studies with samples larger than 10 participants, from 1998 to 2017, was conducted on Medline, Lilacs, PubMed and ISI. A total of 31 articles were included in this review.

Results

Abused children have a recognition bias for negative expressions, especially fear and anger. This increased perception tends to impair interpersonal relationships throughout their development. However, it appears as a matter of necessity, related to survival in a hostile environment. Moreover, neglected children have a shorter reaction time for recognition of negative facial expressions. Thus, the consequence of this deficit generates losses, such as the difficulty of ability to perceive a situation that puts them at risk.

Conclusions

Children victims of severe domestic violence, as well as those who have been sexually abused and neglected, experience a learning situation regarding past experiences. The losses appear both in abnormal anatomical brain and physiological formations, as well as psychological and behavioral changes that impact the lives of these individuals. These changes are associated to changes mainly in circuits related to the prefrontal cortex and limbic regions, which are responsible for regulating the reaction to a threat. Future studies should develop programs, focusing not only in the prevention of adverse family environments and domestic violence, but also in helping these children improve psychosocial adaptation.

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