Adversity, Adaptation & Resilience

Adam Schickedanz, MD PHD
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) —traumatic events or environments that undermine a child’s sense of safety and stability—are common, with about two thirds of all participants in the CDC Kaiser ACEs study reporting at least one ACE and more than one in five reporting three or more ACEs. Given these trends, it is anticipated that ACEs will affect an ever-growing swath of the population as socioeconomic inequalities continue to increase in the United States. It is now well-documented that ACES lead to poor health outcomes over the lifespan, including injury, mental health challenges, maternal health issues, infectious and chronic disease, risky behaviors, and diminished educational, vocational, and financial opportunities (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, 2020). ACEs may, in part, explain why the U.S. has the poorest health among wealthy nations, with the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and drug-related mortality compared to other high-income countries.

Our mission

The goal of the emerging Adversity, Positive Adaptation, and Resilience node is to develop a research hub focused on understanding actionable approaches to improving life course health and well-being through mitigating various forms of adversity, increasing capacity for positive adaptation in the face of adversity, and promoting resilience. The Node will combine insights from a broad range of fields concerned with childhood adversity and resilience in order to create a cross-cutting framework and a unified theory of adversity, adaptation, and resilience. The node is led by Dr. Adam Schickedanz , Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Ottawa Charter outlines the fundamental conditions for health as peace, shelter, education, food, stable ecosystem, sustainable resources, social justice, and equity.

How can we explore new approaches to ADHD interventions that will yield better outcomes for children, including the potential for community-wide interventions that create a supportive ecosystem that will enhance the effectiveness of clinical interventions? How do we better mobilize resources in a child’s ecosystem and deploy them in a way that builds more supportive pathways to optimize healthy development? How can we apply the principles of life course health development to both the study of the ways in which ADHD develops, and to interventions that might either prevent or ameliorate symptoms?

Projects and Progress

Dr. Schickedanz completed a pilot study supported by the LCIRNThe Impact of COVID-19 on economic adversity, parent mental health, parenting self-efficacy, and child development.

This study will looked at short-term trajectories of harms to family financial, health, parenting efficacy, and developmental outcomes in the rapidly-evolving epidemic’s first year, with subsequent longer-term follow-up measurement of these trajectories into the end of early childhood leveraging a study of an existing cohort of low-income, racially minoritized dyads of parents and their infants and young children. It also examined resilience factors in each of these domains and time windows that could form the basis for targeted interventions to help socially marginalized families weather the economic and social storms of the post-COVID era.

Results and more info coming soon.

Collaborative partners

This node is currently in development – if you are interested in becoming a member, contact us at