Psychosocial deprivation is commonly defined as the absence of appropriate stimuli in the social environment that are necessary for an individual’s social, emotional, and intellectual development. In early childhood, this absence of stimuli results from the lack of a consistent, sensitive caregiver. The first years of life are a time of rapid and critically important brain development, so deprivation of necessary input during this period is particularly impactful.

Social deprivation may occur in cases of severe neglect of children living in families. Much of the work on early psychosocial deprivation have focused on institutional rearing, where it is not uncommon and more easily quantifiable. Children raised in institutions often experience reduced sensory stimulation due to limited verbal communication, social interaction, and, critically, the absence of a ...

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