A new study led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers and co-authored by Alliance Change in Mind Institute Director Jennifer Jones suggests positive childhood experiences, such as supportive family interactions, caring relationships with friends, and connections in the community, are associated with reductions in the chances of having adult depression and poor mental health, and increases in the chances of having healthy relationships in adulthood. This association was true even among those with a history of adverse childhood experiences. 

The findings, published Sept. 9 in JAMA Pediatrics, could encourage public health efforts and policies aimed at boosting positive childhood experiences in conjunction with reducing adverse childhood experiences. 

The research has since been mentioned by more than 60 news outlets including The Boston Globe and The New Yorker: 

Positive relationships can buffer childhood trauma and toxic stress, researchers say
The Boston Globe 

 This article notes the details of the study, including that a phone study of more than 6,000 Wisconsin adults showed that individuals with at least six caring relationships when they were young were 72 percent less likely to have poor mental health when they got older, compared with those who reported two or fewer relationships. The author goes on to note, “As logical as the findings might seem, the research underscores an overlooked but basic point: A support system matters.” 

What a Pediatrician Can Do for a Child Seeking Asylum—and What She Can’t
The New Yorker 

 This article notes, “Researchers found that such positive experiences could reduce rates of depression and poor mental health in adulthood, including people who also score high on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Primary-care pediatricians are learning not only to screen for ACEs but to equip families with the tools they need to help kids flourish despite trauma. The harm done to children who are separated from their families, by border policies or ICE raids or incarceration, is evil precisely because the absence of parents makes it difficult for children to recover from the trauma of the separation itself.” 

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