Childhood abuse is a global problem. It is strongly associated with development of a range of mental disorders, including, schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder and major depression. In an ongoing international project, we are investigating the negative consequences of physical abuse in child and adolescent workers in North India and Nepal.
The first major goal of our research project is to estimate the frequency, type and severity of abuse and neglect in child and adolescent labourers of Varanasi (India) and Kathmandu (Nepal), and to establish the nature and degree of cognitive and emotional disturbances in those with a history of marked physical abuse. The second goal is to develop a novel, ecologically-valid cognitive training programme to teach individuals more adaptive emotion regulation strategies. We will also assess the effectiveness of this programme at challenging emotional disturbances (including their brain-based substrates) thought to mediate the effects of early physical abuse on later mental health and problem behaviours in physically abused adolescents.
The ultimate aim of our research programme is to obtain a clearer understanding of the scope and nature of maltreatment including their cognitive and emotional disturbances in child and adolescent workers in north India and Nepal, and to test a novel cognitive training programme capable of increasing resilience in young people who have been physically abused so that they become less susceptible to the undesired consequences of these aversive experiences.