Reversing Adversity

Adversity experienced during a person’s childhood has far-reaching consequences.

Years of research have shown that trauma and adverse events in childhood can put a person at an elevated risk for a wide range of physical and mental health problems across their life span. But the scope and significance of that impact ­– and how to reverse it – is just beginning to come into focus.

The number of children under the age of 18 who have experienced trauma and are at risk for health problems is staggering: About two-thirds of kids have experienced at least one major traumatic event in their lives and one-third have experienced two or more, according to a 2007 study.

Now health professionals and researchers are working to understand the psychological and biological connections between adverse events and trauma on health – and what to do to interrupt those effects.

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