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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) summarizes the available research on childhood stress and its long-term consequences in a publication entitled The Effects of Childhood Stress on Health Across the Lifespan.  The document explores how intensive and prolonged stress, especially stress caused by child abuse, neglect and repeated exposure to domestic violence, can lead to a variety of short and long-term negative health effects.  This may include the disruption of early brain development and functioning of the nervous and immune systems. In addition, childhood stress can lead to health problems later in life including alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.  This guide can be especially useful to prevention practitioners as they incorporate information about childhood stress into their work.  Requests for hard copies can be submitted on-line at

View, download, or print the complete text of The Effects of Childhood Stress on Health Across the Lifespan.

Related – Child Maltreatment Associated with Reductions in Quality of Life, University of Georgia, September 2008