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      Future Directions in Childhood Adversity and Youth Psychopathology

      Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology

      Informa UK Limited

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          Abstract

          Despite long-standing interest in the influence of adverse early experiences on mental health, systematic scientific inquiry into childhood adversity and developmental outcomes has emerged only recently. Existing research has amply demonstrated that exposure to childhood adversity is associated with elevated risk for multiple forms of youth psychopathology. In contrast, knowledge of developmental mechanisms linking childhood adversity to the onset of psychopathology-and whether those mechanisms are general or specific to particular kinds of adversity-remains cursory. Greater understanding of these pathways and identification of protective factors that buffer children from developmental disruptions following exposure to adversity is essential to guide the development of interventions to prevent the onset of psychopathology following adverse childhood experiences. This article provides recommendations for future research in this area. In particular, use of a consistent definition of childhood adversity, integration of studies of typical development with those focused on childhood adversity, and identification of distinct dimensions of environmental experience that differentially influence development are required to uncover mechanisms that explain how childhood adversity is associated with numerous psychopathology outcomes (i.e., multifinality) and identify moderators that shape divergent trajectories following adverse childhood experiences. A transdiagnostic model that highlights disruptions in emotional processing and poor executive functioning as key mechanisms linking childhood adversity with multiple forms of psychopathology is presented as a starting point in this endeavour. Distinguishing between general and specific mechanisms linking childhood adversity with psychopathology is needed to generate empirically informed interventions to prevent the long-term consequences of adverse early environments on children's development.

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              Ordinary magic. Resilience processes in development.

               A. S. Masten (2001)
              The study of resilience in development has overturned many negative assumptions and deficit-focused models about children growing up under the threat of disadvantage and adversity. The most surprising conclusion emerging from studies of these children is the ordinariness of resilience. An examination of converging findings from variable-focused and person-focused investigations of these phenomena suggests that resilience is common and that it usually arises from the normative functions of human adaptational systems, with the greatest threats to human development being those that compromise these protective systems. The conclusion that resilience is made of ordinary rather than extraordinary processes offers a more positive outlook on human development and adaptation, as well as direction for policy and practice aimed at enhancing the development of children at risk for problems and psychopathology.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
                Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
                Informa UK Limited
                1537-4416
                1537-4424
                December 03 2014
                February 05 2016
                : 45
                : 3
                : 361-382
                Article
                10.1080/15374416.2015.1110823
                4837019
                26849071
                © 2014

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