Video online of John Eckenrode’s presentation at the Picower Symposium
May 7, 2012
Video is now online of BCTR director John Eckenrode's presentation, Preventing Early Adversity and Improving the Life Chances of Socially Disadvantaged Children and Families, at the Spring 2012 Picower Symposium, sponsored by The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT.
Preventing Early Adversity and Improving the Life Chances of Socially Disadvantaged Children and Families
As more research documents the wide-ranging and long-term impacts of early adversity on the developing brain and life course outcomes, there is an imperative to develop approaches to prevent exposure to such adversities in early childhood and to buffer the effects of toxic stressors by creating supportive environments for children. This presentation will review a 30-year effort to develop and test the effectiveness of the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) program, which consists of home visitation by nurses to low income first-time mothers during pregnancy and the first two years of their child’s life. Three randomized trials of the program have been conducted. Evidence will be presented showing that the program reduced children’s exposure to adversities in the form of child abuse and neglect. In addition, data will be reviewed showing the positive impact of the program on mothers’ life course development, thus improving the parenting environment for their children. Finally, results pertaining to the program’s impact on child development outcomes will be presented, consistent with a neurobiological impact of the program. As such, the NFP program could be considered an example of a neurobiologically informed ecological intervention for at-risk mothers and their children.