PROJECT 1: Penn State University's Translational Center for Child Maltreatment Studies (TCCMS)

  • Schreier, Hannah Milena Caroline (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


PROJECT 1: PROJECT SUMMARY / ABSTRACT Over one third of U.S. youth are investigated for child maltreatment (CM) before the age of 18. CM represents an especially potent early life stressor with a profound impact on youth’s psychological and physical well-being. Among other things, CM increases the risk of many chronic diseases of aging, the roots of which can already be found during childhood and adolescence. Thus, a better understanding of the physiological mechanisms through which CM is associated with subsequent health is needed to improve the lifelong health trajectories of youth with a CM history, a high-risk yet understudied group, as well as to better understand biological mechanisms connecting early life adversity to later life health and well-being more generally. This project proposes the continuation of the Child Health Study (CHS; Project 1 of HD089922, PI: Noll), as part of which 525 youth aged 8-13 years who were recently investigated for CM as well as 175 comparison youth without a history of CM are being followed prospectively, completing biannual assessments. Taking advantage of this unique and exceptionally well-characterized cohort, we will follow youth as they arrive at the transition to adulthood, an important developmental period characterized by continued plasticity, the occurrence of many important developmental milestones, and with important implications for lifelong health and well-being. To this end, we will assess how early life experiences impact health during the transition to adulthood as well as the likelihood of a successful transition to adulthood (marked by greater academic achievement, career readiness, social capital, service continuity and reduced financial interdependence, early parenthood, and system involvement). In the process, we pay particular attention to the importance of key moderators (e.g., genotype, gender, race/ethnicity, pubertal timing, and neighborhood characteristics). Additionally, added emphasis is placed throughout on better understanding the experiences of racial/ethnic minority youth in the cohort (e.g., by examining the possible protective role of racial/ethnic identity) and to examine the impact of the intersectionality between race-related stressors and experiences of CM. Finally, we will also be able to leverage this cohort to understand in greater detail how various aspects of youth’s CM experiences and youth’s reactions to such experiences are differentially predictive of health and well-being during the transition to adulthood as well as a successful transition to adulthood more broadly. The interdisciplinary research team includes expertise in the assessment of biological embedding mechanisms and health among vulnerable youth and the retention of prospective cohorts of CM survivors. Resulting data will make important contributions to the CM and early life adversity literatures. It will also inform future prevention and intervention efforts with the ultimate goal of reducing the risk of adverse long-term health consequences among some of the most vulnerable individuals in the population.
Effective start/end date4/1/233/31/24


  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $720,443.00


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