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Biological Embedding of Early Adversity

Join Dr. Elissa Epel at 2018 Association for Psychological Science Conference for the session "Biological Embedding of Early Adversity"

Elissa S. Epel, University of California, San Francisco (Chair)
Nim Tottenham, Columbia University
Stacy Drury, Tulane University
Jenny Tung, Duke University
Eamon McCrory, University College London, United Kingdom
Andrea Danese, King’s College London, United Kingdom

Human and animal studies document long lasting effects of adverse early environments, including low socioeconomic status, poor parent-offspring relationships (especially child abuse and neglect), and prenatal or early exposure to stress, on developmental outcomes and trajectories of health and well-being throughout the life-span. This symposium will feature talks by five researchers who are taking novel approaches to studying how various forms of early life adverse exposures become biologically embedded and elevate risk for poor mental and physical health in later life.  The mechanisms through which these early adverse experiences exert influences on physical and mental health in later adulthood are becoming better understood, but important questions remain regarding the timing, severity, and differential impact of discrete types of adverse exposures on developmental processes, as well as about when and how their long-term impacts on health and disease are likely to manifest. The talks and panel discussion will explore these mechanisms of persistent risk at multiple levels of analysis, address inherent challenges in this field, and touch on current evidence regarding their plasticity and potential reversibility to inform consideration of possible interventions.