Vulnerability and the Intergenerational Transmission of Psychosocial Harm

Emory Law Journal
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Emory Law Journal, 2018, 67 (6), pp. 1115 - 1134
Issue Date:
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In the field of science known as the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD), there is an emergent body of research examining the biological impact of the psychosocial dimension of harm resulting from sexual and physical abuse. A particular focus has been the way these assaults, when enacted against women, cause levels of stress that can have a biological impact on their future children. In the following Parts, I take a close look at scientific studies that reveal an intergenerational impact resulting from harms perpetrated on a woman prior to the conception and birth of her children, with a particular focus on the impact of stress. I consider the way law might play a role in mediating or mitigating those harms using a vulnerability and inevitable dependency approach derived from Martha Fineman’s body of work.
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