What is the research project about?
We want to understand how people who experienced stressful life events and adversity in childhood were affected by these experiences across the course of their lives. Our aim is to bring together historical and psychological approaches to examine how people responded to, and found ways to live with, the individual effects of diverse forms of disadvantage, including abuse, neglect, poverty and the breakdown of familial relationships. Research on resilience following early life stress has tended to focus on the short-term. Little is known about the long-term impact of these early experiences, and how – and to what extent – men and women navigated pathways to resilience across their lifetime. This project will begin to fill these gaps in the literature, and aims to contribute to improvements in contemporary policy and practice.
How will we find out about this?
We will use archived case files to study the experiences of children who were identified as growing up in difficult circumstances in 20th-century Britain. We are interested in the changing and diverse ways in which children were cared for, how they were viewed by society, and how they interpreted their own lives. This deeply contextualised qualitative understanding will then be linked to, and correlated with, subjective, social, psychological and physiological outcomes across the life-course. We cannot understand what care, interventions and relationships supported these men and women best without firstknowing how these cohorts experienced and perceivedadversity when young.
Orginal published in TORCH Annual Review