Neurobiological and Psychological Development in Contexts of Economic Hardship
Paul Hastings, Professor of Psychology, UC Davis
In the U.S.A., approximately 20% children and adolescents live in poverty and more than double that number live in families experiencing chronic economic hardship. Those figures are higher for many ethnically and racially diverse communities in the U.S.A., and higher still for many other nations, particularly in the Global South. Growing up in contexts of poverty and economic hardship exposes children to pervasive and multi-faceted stressors that may shape their developing neurobiological systems and psychological adjustment in complex, enduring and disadvantageous ways. In this presentation, Hastings will discuss his recent, ongoing and planned research on the developmental science of growing up in economic hardship conducted with colleagues and trainees at UC Davis, nationally and internationally.
Professor Hastings is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and a member of the core faculty of The Health Emotions, Relationships and Development Lab (HERD), which explores the factors contributing to children’s social and emotional development. He examines the contributions of “nurture” through children’s close relationships with family and friends, and “nature” through their autonomic and neuroendocrine regulatory systems. His research focuses on understanding how these factors shape developmental trajectories toward adaptive functioning, like compassion and social competence, and maladaptive functioning, like aggression and anxiety.