What is it about?

Persistent exposure to adversities (e.g., parental hostility, neighborhood crime, racial discrimination, and socioeconomic risk) across the childhood/adolescent life course is associated with health problems in adulthood among Black Americans. Further, this relationship is mediated by low self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and lack of self-control.

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Why is it important?

The current study extended previous research in several ways by: confirming a construct of childhood/adolescent adversity, identifying trajectories of adversity, modeling subjective and objective health outcomes, and examining the social-psychological processes that may medicate the linkage between early adversity and adult health.


We believe that our research has multiple important implications. From a theoretical perspective, the findings highlight the importance of constructing integrated models that unite social, psychological, and biological variables, and adopting a biopsychosocial perspective (e.g. the allostatic load model and weathering hypothesis) to enhance scientific knowledge of the social determinants of health. From a methodological perspective, the present study develops an alternative measure of childhood adversity involving multiple dimensions and time effects. From a clinical practice perspective, our results potentially inform the development of clinical practices that focus on improving psychosocial adjustment (i.e. improving self-esteem, reducing negative affect, enhancing self-control) through family and neighborhood resilience mechanisms to mitigate the consequences of early adversities on health outcomes.

Dr Man Kit Lei
University of Georgia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Specifying the psychosocial pathways whereby child and adolescent adversity shape adult health outcomes, Psychological Medicine, October 2022, Cambridge University Press,
DOI: 10.1017/s003329172200318x.
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