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[Comment] Early life deprivation: is the damage already done?

“Sir—The evacuation of small children between the ages of 2 and 5 introduces major psychological problems.” This sentence by John Bowlby and colleagues published in The BMJ in 1939 warns against the detrimental effects of separation of young children from their mothers.1 During World War 2, children in the UK were evacuated to unfamiliar families for reasons of safety. The professional attention to the effects of family disruption preceded the attention to serious physical and emotional deprivation of children raised in residential institutions such as orphanages as a result of war.