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Christopher Monk
Christopher Monk

Social Support May Buffer Brain Effects of Early Life Adversity 1/20/20

A new study finds that people with a history of childhood adversity may be more likely to experience brain changes in adolescence that indicate an altered response to threat. However, social support may act as a buffer and reduce the negative effects of early-life stress.

University of Michigan researchers analyzed data of 177 teens, ages 15-17, who had been followed in a larger study since birth. Around 70 percent of the participants were African-American and almost half lived below the poverty line.

Children growing up in poverty are particularly vulnerable to early-life adversity. Those who experience poverty have a much higher risk of being exposed to violence and suffering from a lack of social support, which can have long-term consequences including higher rates of diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

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