effects of childhood stress on health across the lifespan (The)
Jennifer S. Middlebrooks,.Natalie C. Audage
Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2008
“….Stress is an inevitable part of life. Human beings experience stress early, even before they are born. A certain amount of stress is normal and neces-sary for survival. Stress helps children develop the skills they need to cope with and adapt to new and potentially threatening situations throughout life. Support from parents and/or other concerned caregivers is necessary for children to learn how to respond to stress in a physically and emotion-ally healthy manner.
The beneficial aspects of stress diminish when it is severe enough to over-whelm a child’s ability to cope effectively. Intensive and prolonged stress can lead to a variety of short- and long-term negative health effects. It can disrupt early brain development and compromise functioning of the nervous and immune systems. In addition, childhood stress can lead to health problems later in life including alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
The purpose of this publication is to summarize the research on childhood stress and its implications for adult health and well-being. Of particular interest is the stress caused by child abuse, neglect, and repeated exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV). We hope this publication provides practitioners, especially those working in violence prevention, with ideas about how to incorporate this information into their work….”