Toxic Stress in Contemporary Families: Getting From Adversity to Capacity

Invited Symposium

This session will be live streamed

Maria L. Boccia, Paul Lanier, Samantha M. Brown, Kimberly Bender, Julie S. McCrae, Rebecca Orsi, Jon Phillips, Shauna Rienks; Discussant: Jay A. Mancini; Chair: Anne Farrell

12:00 PM
1:15 PM
Grand Ballroom B
Session #
Session Type
Organized By
Families & Health
Family Policy
About the Session
  • 322-01 - Parental Divorce Effects on Adult Social Relationships: Neureobiological Linkages
    By Maria L. Boccia
  • 322-02 - A Nationally-representative Study of Exposure to Multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the Association With Pediatric Health Outcomes
    By Paul Lanier
  • 322-03 - Assessment and Service Options in Primary Care Using Classification and Regression Tree Analysis (CART) and Example of an Applied Intervention
    By Samantha M. Brown, Kimberly Bender, Julie S. McCrae, Rebecca Orsi, Jon Phillips, Shauna Rienks
  • 322-04 - Discussant: Building Community Capacity to Sustain Efforts to Reduce Toxic Stress and Its Effects
    By Jay A. Mancini

    Chair: Anne Farrell

This symposium includes three papers on toxic stress, which is the chronic experience of adversity absent the presence of a nurturing figure who can buffer these experiences. There is a solid body of research that documents the ability of individuals to emerge from traumatic experiences with new capacities, yet little is known about how interventions can intentionally support the adaptation and resilience in populations exposed to multiple adverse events. The presenters address issues of definition and measurement, explore new findings on the neurobiology of toxic stress, discuss clusters of adverse events that relate to child outcomes, and review new community interventions to mitigate the effects of stress. The presenters and discussant address implications for intervention, specifically, how evidence from across systems and disciplines can inform interventions that are intended to move individuals, families, and systems from vulnerability to resilience. 


(1)    Participants will be able to define toxic stress and give examples of its conceptual application across neurobiological, health care, and community interventions. (2) Participants will relate adverse childhood experiences to evolving notions of toxic stress. (3) Participants will cite examples of interventions intended to reduce exposure and mitigate effects of toxic stress. (4) Participants will discuss the need to plan, build, and support sustainable (formal and informal) community supports for families vulnerable to toxic stress.

Bundle name
Conference Session