Safe, stable, and supportive relationships with adults are fundamental to healthy child development. If nurturing relationships are impaired or caregivers are a source of threat, there can be profound and persistent consequences for children’s physical and mental health. Child maltreatment, which is characterized by unhealthy relationships and environments that jeopardize a child’s optimal development, is a complex problem.

To promote positive interactions between children and adults, researchers seek to understand how risk and protective factors interact to influence the causes and consequences of child maltreatment. This research can provide insight about the factors and developmental processes that contribute to vulnerability and resilience in individuals who have been maltreated. This knowledge provides an important foundation for prevention and intervention efforts to stop child maltreatment and mitigate its ...

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