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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 16;109 Suppl 2:17302-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1121259109. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Leveraging the biology of adversity to address the roots of disparities in health and development.

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1
Center on Developing Child at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. jack_shonkoff@harvard.edu

Abstract

Extensive evidence that personal experiences and environmental exposures are embedded biologically (for better or for worse) and the cumulative knowledge of more than four decades of intervention research provide a promising opportunity to mobilize evolving scientific insights to catalyze a new era of more effective early childhood policy and practice. Drawing on emerging hypotheses about causal mechanisms that link early adversity with lifelong impairments in learning, behavior, and health, this paper proposes an enhanced theory of change to promote better outcomes for vulnerable, young children by strengthening caregiver and community capacities to reduce or mitigate the impacts of toxic stress, rather than simply providing developmental enrichment for the children and parenting education for their mothers.

PMID:
23045654
PMCID:
PMC3477384
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1121259109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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