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date: 20 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Exposure to chronic or severe stressful life events during childhood and adolescence—frequently referred to as early life stress (ELS) or childhood adversity—has powerful and lasting associations with psychopathology across the life course. This chapter reviews the growing body of research on ELS and psychopathology across the life course, with a particular focus on the mechanisms that explain the strong associations between ELS and psychopathology. To address these questions, I review evidence on the links between ELS and psychopathology and highlight divergent conceptual models of ELS that advocate different approaches to uncovering these mechanisms. I end by addressing different approaches to the measurement and analysis of ELS that have emerged from these conceptual frameworks.

Keywords: stress, early life stress, childhood adversity, adverse childhood experience, development, psychopathology

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