Addressing the Consequences of Concentrated Adversity on Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Theresa S. Betancourt and William R. Beardslee

in The Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Child Development

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199769100
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Addressing the Consequences of Concentrated Adversity on Child and Adolescent Mental Health

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  • Developmental Psychology


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We concentrate on the psychosocial and developmental consequences of major life adversity on child and family mental health, with particular attention to regions affected by communal violence and regions affected by HIV/AIDS. In both of these contexts, there is an overlap of several forms of family adversity that commonly characterize large proportions of developing children and their caregivers. As opposed to a simplistic view of children in adversity which ascribes their long-term well-being as mainly linked to traumatic exposures or individual characteristics, a developmental and ecological lens is used to consider the many ways in which mental health and well-being are shaped by the interplay between individual, family, community, and societal factors. We conclude with a series of recommendations illustrating the interplay between building the evidence base, increasing political will to make change, and improving the implementation of high quality and sustainable services for children, youth, and families.

Keywords: child development; war; HIV/AIDS; mental health; coping; resilience; social ecology

Article.  11852 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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