Effects of therapeutic interventions for foster children on behavioral problems, caregiver attachment, and stress regulatory neural systems

Philip A. Fisher, Megan R. Gunnar, Mary Dozier, Jacqueline Bruce, Katherine C. Pears

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

168 Scopus citations

Abstract

Young children in foster care are exposed to high levels of stress. These experiences place foster children at risk for poor social, academic, and mental heath outcomes. The role of adverse events in stimulating neurobiological stress responses presumably plays a role in shaping neural systems that contribute to these problems. Systematic and developmentally well-timed interventions might have the potential to change developmental trajectories and promote resilience. Moreover, understanding how specific dimensions of early adversity affect underlying stress response systems and how alterations in these systems are related to later psychosocial outcomes might facilitate more precise and targeted interventions. Data are drawn from two ongoing randomized trials involving foster infants/toddlers and preschoolers. Consistent with prior animal models of early adversity, these studies have shown that early adversity - particularly neglect, younger age at first foster placement, and higher number of placements - is associated with altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function. The interventions under investigation have produced evidence that it is possible to impact many areas that have been negatively affected by early stress, including HPA axis activity, behavior, and attachment to caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResilience in Children
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc
Pages215-225
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)1573316431, 9781573316439
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume1094
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632

Keywords

  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
  • Cortisol
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
  • Stress
  • Stress hyporesponsive period (SHRP)

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    Fisher, P. A., Gunnar, M. R., Dozier, M., Bruce, J., & Pears, K. C. (2006). Effects of therapeutic interventions for foster children on behavioral problems, caregiver attachment, and stress regulatory neural systems. In Resilience in Children (pp. 215-225). (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences; Vol. 1094). Blackwell Publishing Inc. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1376.023