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Measuring early life adversity: a dimensional approach

Measuring early life adversity: a dimensional approach
Measuring early life adversity: a dimensional approach
Exposure to adversity in childhood is associated with elevations in numerous physical and mental health outcomes across the life course. The biological embedding of early experience during periods of developmental plasticity is one pathway that contributes to these associations. Dimensional models specify mechanistic pathways linking different dimensions of adversity to health and well-being outcomes later in life. While findings from existing studies testing these dimensions have provided promising preliminary support for these models, less agreement exists about how to measure the experiences that comprise each dimension. Here, we review existing approaches to measuring two dimensions of adversity: threat and deprivation. We recommend specific measures for measuring these constructs and, when possible, document when the same measure can be used by different reporters and across the lifespan to maximize the utility with which these recommendations can be applied. Through this approach, we hope to stimulate progress in understanding how particular dimensions of early environmental experience contribute to lifelong health.
ACEs, adverse early experiences, adversity, deprivation and threat, dimensional models, measurement
0954-5794
499-511
Berman, Ilana S.
160613be-3424-49ed-ae5b-c6c390361eb2
McLaughlin, Katie A.
efbc2fb0-ca46-4816-8da2-6886021c7219
Tottenham, Nim
8352d8b0-3b44-4fda-8b17-4436b7405d43
Godfrey, Keith
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Seeman, Teresa
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Loucks, Eric
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Suomi, Stephen
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Danese, Andrea
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Sheridan, Margaret A.
6031773c-d07c-4e25-acdb-1b6fe405e65f
Berman, Ilana S.
160613be-3424-49ed-ae5b-c6c390361eb2
McLaughlin, Katie A.
efbc2fb0-ca46-4816-8da2-6886021c7219
Tottenham, Nim
8352d8b0-3b44-4fda-8b17-4436b7405d43
Godfrey, Keith
0931701e-fe2c-44b5-8f0d-ec5c7477a6fd
Seeman, Teresa
9a772da0-983c-441a-87b3-878127ebe415
Loucks, Eric
c6e5b66e-d521-475c-bfda-6b5609b7890d
Suomi, Stephen
8a1e1193-c141-42ce-b49b-e010f0f6c756
Danese, Andrea
1a7e22e4-95a8-4cc2-ba4d-67ffdc03ca4f
Sheridan, Margaret A.
6031773c-d07c-4e25-acdb-1b6fe405e65f

Berman, Ilana S., McLaughlin, Katie A., Tottenham, Nim, Godfrey, Keith, Seeman, Teresa, Loucks, Eric, Suomi, Stephen, Danese, Andrea and Sheridan, Margaret A. (2022) Measuring early life adversity: a dimensional approach. Development and Psychopathology, 34 (2), 499-511. (doi:10.1017/S0954579421001826).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Exposure to adversity in childhood is associated with elevations in numerous physical and mental health outcomes across the life course. The biological embedding of early experience during periods of developmental plasticity is one pathway that contributes to these associations. Dimensional models specify mechanistic pathways linking different dimensions of adversity to health and well-being outcomes later in life. While findings from existing studies testing these dimensions have provided promising preliminary support for these models, less agreement exists about how to measure the experiences that comprise each dimension. Here, we review existing approaches to measuring two dimensions of adversity: threat and deprivation. We recommend specific measures for measuring these constructs and, when possible, document when the same measure can be used by different reporters and across the lifespan to maximize the utility with which these recommendations can be applied. Through this approach, we hope to stimulate progress in understanding how particular dimensions of early environmental experience contribute to lifelong health.

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Accepted/In Press date: 1 February 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 March 2022
Published date: May 2022
Additional Information: Funding statement This work was funded by R24 AG065174 to Loucks, Sheridan, Godfrey; T32-HD007376 to Berman; R01-MH103291, R01-MH106482, and R37-MH119194 to McLaughlin; Award Number U24AG047867 and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under award number ES/M00919X/1 to Seeman; Godfrey is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12011/4), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR Senior Investigator (NF-SI-0515-10042) and NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (IS-BRC-1215-20004)), the European Union (Erasmus+ Programme ImpENSA 598488-EPP-1-2018-1-DE-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP), British Heart Foundation (RG/15/17/3174, SP/F/21/150013), and the US National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health (Award No. U24AG047867). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.
Keywords: ACEs, adverse early experiences, adversity, deprivation and threat, dimensional models, measurement

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 455689
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/455689
ISSN: 0954-5794
PURE UUID: 24029c4c-4ac6-46f3-ba02-80d6ac1dd4b4
ORCID for Keith Godfrey: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4643-0618

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Date deposited: 30 Mar 2022 16:55
Last modified: 17 Nov 2022 02:32

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Contributors

Author: Ilana S. Berman
Author: Katie A. McLaughlin
Author: Nim Tottenham
Author: Keith Godfrey ORCID iD
Author: Teresa Seeman
Author: Eric Loucks
Author: Stephen Suomi
Author: Andrea Danese
Author: Margaret A. Sheridan

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