Gregory E. Miller and Edith Chen, Department of Psychology and Cells to Society (C2S), The Center on Social Disparities and Health, Institute for Policy Research,Northwestern University.
The Biological Residue of Childhood Poverty
Article first published online: 18 JAN 2013
© 2013 The Authors Child Development Perspectives © 2013 The Society for Research in Child Development
Child Development Perspectives
Volume 7, Issue 2, pages 67–73, June 2013
How to Cite
Miller, G. E. and Chen, E. (2013), The Biological Residue of Childhood Poverty. Child Development Perspectives, 7: 67–73. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12021
Neither author reports a scientific or financial conflict of interest. Preparation of this article was supported by Grant R01 HD058502 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
- Issue published online: 11 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 18 JAN 2013
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Children raised in poverty are prone to physical health problems late in life. To understand these findings and address the scientific challenge they represent, we must formulate integrative conceptual frameworks at the crossroads of behavioral and biomedical science, with a strong developmental emphasis. In this article, we outline such a framework and discuss research bearing on its validity. We address how childhood poverty gets under the skin, at the level of tissues and organs, in a manner that affects later disease risks. We also tackle questions about resilience; even with lengthy exposure to childhood poverty, why does only a subset of people acquire diseases? Why are some individuals protected whereas others remain vulnerable? Maternal nurturance might be a source of resilience, buffering children from the long-term health consequences of poverty. We conclude with research priorities.