Despite the fact that many children grow up in poverty, many exhibit resilience, or successful adaptation and competence. Recent data, however, has also shown that adaptation in the face of adversity often comes at a health cost. At the same time, there is much we do not know. Why does resilience lead to health cost? How can we mitigate these consequences?
With a generous grant from the National Institute of Health, the Berger Institute’s Applied Mind and Health lab is collaborating with the University of California, Riverside’s Adversity and Adaptation lab, directed by Dr. Tuppet Yates, to answer some of these questions. Dr. Doan and Dr. Yates have started gathering and analyzing data on a large, longitudinal study looking at a diverse sample, including 46% Latinx youth, ages 4-14. The data set followed 250 children and their caregivers through adolescence and examined stress, family, and personality characteristics. In addition, the grant funds new data at age 14, particularly sleep and health variables. Altogether they will assess children’s poverty-related risk exposure, academic competence, physical health, and sleep functioning. Adolescence is a critical period for identifying risk due to the lasting effect of health patterns that begin at this age. This study is an exciting move forward in learning more about this crucial time and what can be done in both research and practice to help these children and adolescents thrive.