To better understand childhood trauma (e.g., witnessing violent events, abuse or neglect) we capitalized on a study that started at Duke University about 25 years ago involving 1,420 9- to 13-year-old children. The children were interviewed on a regular basis and this continues today as the participants are in their 30s.
The study suggested that childhood trauma is more common than is often assumed. Furthermore, results show it can cast a long and wide-ranging shadow as it is associated with elevated risk for adult psychiatric disorders and diminished physical health, financial and academic success, and social life.
We are currently working on developing a biomarker that would enable early interventions by identifying children at risk for negative effects later in life.