Skip to main content

Childhood maltreatment: emotional consequences and potential intervention

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.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Veena Kumari
Professor Veena Kumari - Professor Veena Kumari obtained a PhD in Psychology from Banaras Hindu University, India in 1993 prior to joining the Institute of Psychiatry, London for post-doctoral research. She became a Beit Memorial Research Fellow in 1999, a Wellcome Senior Fellow in Basic Biomedical Science in 2002, and a Full Professor in 2006 at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (formerly known as the Institute of Psychiatry), King’s College London, UK. She left King’s College London in 2016 to join the Sovereign Health Group (USA) as the Chief Scientific Officer and returned to the UK in 2018 to join Brunel University London as Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN). Her research interests include the neurobiological effects of pharmacological and psychological treatments in psychosis, neurobiology of violence in mental illness, psychobiology of addiction, and personality and brain functioning. Prof Kumari has over 250 publications in reputed psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience journals and received various national and international awards for her research including the Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance of Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, USA (1999), research fellowship from BEIT Memorial Foundation (1999-2002), the BAP (British Association of Psychopharmacology) Clinical Psychopharmacology Prize (2002), Wellcome Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science (2002-2009), the prestigious Humboldt Research Award (2014), and most recently a Bonn International Fellowship (2020). Professor Kumari has supervised a large number of post-graduate and doctoral students and served in editor or editorial board member roles for a number of psychology and psychiatry journals.

Related Research Group(s)

brain scan

Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience - Fundamental and applied research into brain function using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), eye-tracking, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), infrared thermography together with psychophysics and cognitive behavioural paradigms in health and disease.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 14/11/2023