Decades of research have confirmed the damaging effects of chronic and acute adversities on socioemotional, academic, and health outcomes [1-10]. And yet, many children growing up in these contexts demonstrate `resilient' outcomes (operationalized here as both the presence of adaptive competence(s) and the absence of psychopathology). How do children achieve such adaptive outcomes in the face of significant adversity? Extant studies indicate that protective familial- and community-level factors promote socioemotional resilience by buffering children from the effects of adversity [11-16]. Very little work, however, has considered the neurobehavioral pathways through which these protective processes confer resilience [17]. The parent grant will do just this in a sample of youth residing in neighborhood disadvantage, identifying neural markers of resilience to chronic adversity and illuminating the multilevel etiologic processes through which protective factors promote these neuro-resilient pathways. The proposed supplement will enhance this work, leveraging a natural experiment with an exogenous and acute stressor (COVID-19 and its economic, social, and personal impacts) to illuminate the ways in which protective factors promote neuro-resilience to acute adversity as well. We propose to reassess all twin families eligible for the parent grant (i.e., early-to-mid adolescent twin pairs residing in modestly-to-severely disadvantaged neighborhood contexts across lower Michigan), conducting two online COVID-19 related assessments across the next year. We will specifically collect data on the economic, occupational, health, and social impacts of the pandemic and their downstream mental health consequences (e.g., depression, anxiety), as well as youth adaptive competencies in the face of COVID-19. In this way, we can evaluate how the impacts of business and school closures unfold over the course of the pandemic, as well as whether and how some youth developed resilience to these significant stressors. By leveraging exposure to an exogenous and acute stressor like COVID-19, the proposed supplement will allow the parent grant to expand its current focus on neuro-resilience to chronic adversity to also include an acute stressor as well.

Public Health Relevance

The overarching goal of the proposed supplement is to rapidly improve our understanding of the economic, social, and personal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and their downstream consequences. Our specific objectives are to 1) document the economic, social, and personal impacts of business and school closures on an already vulnerable population, 2) evaluate the downstream mental health and neurodevelopmental consequences of these economic, social, and personal impacts, and behavioral and neuro-resilience to these impacts. 3) identify protective factors that promote

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Exploratory/Developmental Cooperative Agreement Phase II (UH3)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Zehr, Julia L
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Michigan State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
East Lansing
United States
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