Dimensions of Child Adversity and Health Risk Behaviors in Young Adulthood

Project Description

This study aims to understand mechanisms in the global context through which exposure to different types of adverse experiences in childhood increases risk of adverse behavioral and psychosocial outcomes into early adulthood. Exposure to childhood adversity such as physical/sexual abuse, domestic violence, community violence, poverty, neglect, and institutionalization is common; estimates range from 12% in Europe to 64% in Asia. Childhood adversity impacts both neurological and psychological development and is frequently found to be a strong predictor of adverse outcomes in adulthood, including risk behaviors such as interpersonal violence, alcohol problems, and sexual risk-­taking.

This study utilizes longitudinal cohort data from Parenting Across Cultures and Young Lives-­Peru. Together, these sources contain 17 waves of data among three cohorts, spanning childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood with participants from 10 different countries.

Goals

The specific aims of this research are to:

  1. Identify the elements of adversity in early and middle childhood and their related risk behavior outcomes in adolescence and young adulthood.
  2. Determine to what extent the relationships in Aim 1 are mediated by different indicators of cognitive functioning and emotional regulation
  3. Determine to what extent the relationships between the elements of adversity in early and middle childhood and the indicators of cognitive functioning and emotional regulation are moderated by parenting behaviors and cultural norms of parenting.
  4. To understand the effects of the research cross-­culturally and across different longitudinal data sets.

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