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Perinatal Trauma, Long-Term Consequences of

A rich literature, based on sound research, indicates that childhood traumatic experiences can result in lasting adverse consequences, including diagnoses such as posttraumatic stress syndrome. The history of our understanding of such phenomena, however, relates largely to children 2 years of age and older. The supposition usually enunciated is that for a seriously hurtful condition to have an enduring effect, the capacity for remembering and even the ability to recall the dreadful experience in words must be present. This reasoning suggests that if there is no cognitive representation of the earlier event encoded in the cerebral nervous system, there cannot be a condition of posttraumatic stress; it is as if the history never occurred in the life of the affected (or nonaffected) individual. However, our ...

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