The Neurobiology of Intervention and Prevention in Early Adversity

Posted: 30 Mar 2016

See all articles by Philip A. Fisher

Philip A. Fisher

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Kate G. Beauchamp

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Leslie Roos

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Laura K. Noll

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Jessica Flannery

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Brianna Delker

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

Early adverse experiences are well understood to affect development and well-being, placing individuals at risk for negative physical and mental health outcomes. A growing literature documents the effects of adversity on developing neurobiological systems. Fewer studies have examined stress neurobiology to understand how to mitigate the effects of early adversity. This review summarizes the research on three neurobiological systems relevant to interventions for populations experiencing high levels of early adversity: the hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary axis, the prefrontal cortex regions involved in executive functioning, and the system involved in threat detection and response, particularly the amygdala. Also discussed is the emerging field of epigenetics and related interventions to mitigate early adversity. Further emphasized is the need for intervention research to integrate knowledge about the neurobiological effects of prenatal stressors (e.g., drug use, alcohol exposure) and early adversity. The review concludes with a discussion of the implications of this research topic for clinical psychology practice and public policy.

Suggested Citation

Fisher, Philip A. and Beauchamp, Kate G. and Roos, Leslie and Noll, Laura K. and Flannery, Jessica and Delker, Brianna, The Neurobiology of Intervention and Prevention in Early Adversity (March 2016). Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 12, pp. 331-357, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2756454 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032814-112855

Philip A. Fisher (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Kate G. Beauchamp

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Leslie Roos

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Laura K. Noll

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Jessica Flannery

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Brianna Delker

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

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