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Addressing Adversity & Inequity

Understanding the effects of adversity and inequity to effectively reduce their impact on children

Experiences of adversity during childhood can have wide-spread and long-term detrimental effects on children’s well-being. Researchers at CCFW are studying the risk and protective factors (experiences, relationships, social contexts and skills) that impact children’s well-being. Our work informs practice and policy aimed at reducing the impact of adversity on children and interrupting the flow of these outcomes from generation to generation.

We use a bioecological model to study the neurobiological, social-emotional, health and mental health outcomes of experiences of adversity at multiple levels. These include parenting, family, neighborhood, and environmental factors that account for the effects of adversity — and conversely, that can promote resilience in children.

Our partners are studying the impacts of adversity and inequity in a variety of areas, including the effects of economic disadvantage, interpersonal violence, neighborhood disadvantage and violence, childhood cancer diagnosis, air pollutants, and life-span and intergenerational perspectives on adverse childhood experiences (ACES).

Research Topics Include

  • Understanding the effects of adversity at multiple system levels, including individual, family, community and environmental risk
  • Examining the risk and protective factors in the lives of families experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage
  • Mindfulness and self-compassion prevention programs to promote well-being in children and families experiencing adversity

Current Research, Projects & Programs

Bioecological Model of Adversity

Understanding the effects of adversity at multiple system levels, including individual, family, community and environmental risk, to clarify their combined contributions to health and mental health inequity. Learn more >

Emotion Coaching and Maintaining Family Relationships

Studying how families maintain strong family relationships in the face of adverse environments and life events, and how emotionally sensitive parenting can protect children and support positive outcomes. Learn more >

Project 1, 2, 3, Go!

Studying how low-income and poverty affect children’s developing neurobiological systems of self-regulation and well-being through parenting, family, and neighborhood risk factors. Learn more >

Related Resources

Video

Utilizing Family Skills as a Protective Shield for Families Living Through War, Displacement and Other Challenging Contexts

Parenting can be challenging at the best of times, let alone parenting children through war or refugee contexts. Global conflicts entail many changes for children and their families, with the potential for acute and longer-term impact on well-being and mental health. What can we do to help? Effective parenting can act as a protective shield against the difficulties that children face in challenging times.

Learn More »
Video

We Are the Medicine: Possibilities for Flourishing Through Difficult Times

This session with Dr. Christina Bethell presented new research and approaches to promote child and family well-being using a positive approach to health that fosters self, family and community-led healing of the trauma and adversity concentrated in many of our families and communities today.

Learn More »
Video

The Promise of the Healing-Centered Paradigm in Education

Drawing on extensive doctoral research and professional practice, this lecture with Dr. Angel Acostsa invites participants into an exploration of how practitioners and scholars have deliberately integrated the notion of healing into K-12 curricula and professional education. 

Learn More »
Website

Caring for Children through Conflict and Displacement

This PDF booklet for caregiving in conflict settings has been developed by Professor Rachel Calam, Dr Aala El-Khani and Dr Kim Cartwright. This booklet is also available in Malay, Myanmar, Pashto, Russian, Ukranian, and Vietnamese. 

Learn More »
Website

Prevention through Family Skills and Resources For Caregiving In Conflict, Crisis or Stressful Settings

This webpage by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime provides open access family skills resources in a variety of languages for those at risk of mental health problems due to armed conflict and displacement.

Learn More »

Academic Partners

We collaborate with partners in a variety of fields, both across the University of Washington and at other universities and research centers.
UW School of Public Health
UW School of Nursing
UW Department of Pediatrics
UW College of Education
UW School of Public Health
UW School of Nursing
UW Psychology
UW Psychology
UW Psychology
UW School of Social Work
UW Psychology