There is growing evidence that some of the difficulties observed among children who have experienced early adverse care (e. g., children internationally adopted from institutional care and maltreated children in foster care) involve experience-induced alterations in stress-responsive neurobiological systems, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system. Thus, incorporating stress neurobiology into prevention research could aid in identifying the children most in need of preventive intervention services, elucidating the mechanisms of change in effective interventions, and providing insight into the differential responses of children to effective interventions. However, integrating stress neurobiology and prevention research is challenging. In this paper, the results of studies examining HPA system activity in children who have experienced early adverse care are reviewed, the implications of these results for prevention research are discussed, and critical steps for successfully incorporating stress neurobiology into prevention research are identified.
- Early adverse care
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system
- Prevention science
- Stress neurobiology