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Parenting with PACEs. PACEs science & stories. Trauma-informed change.

Positive childhood environments may help buffer the physiological effects of adversity and trauma []


By Emily Henderson, Photo: Unsplash, Medical News, January 19, 2021

Researchers know that experiencing a high number of adverse events in childhood correlates with worse health outcomes in adulthood. These studies have led to an emphasis on trauma-informed practice in schools and workplaces in an attempt to mitigate the harm of early adversity.

At the other end of the spectrum, focusing on wellness, Darcia Narvaez, emerita professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, has helped identify humanity's baseline for childhood care. She has developed the breakthrough concept of the evolved nest (or evolved developmental niche; EDN). EDN represents common practices for our species over its 6-million-year history that bear on child development, child raising and adult behavior.

In a first-of-its-kind study conducted by Narvaez and doctoral student Mary Tarsha and published in the journal Anxiety, Stress and Coping, results show that positive childhood experiences can help buffer the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on physiological health in adult women.

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