New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Steinhardt Researchers Receive $1.9 Million Grant to Address “Toxic Stress” in Poor Children

November 1, 2011

Researchers at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development have received a $1.9 million grant from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to partner with Early Head Start programs in New York City to develop and assess methods for reducing “toxic stress” faced by children in poverty.

Toxic stress is typically brought on when children experience powerful and prolonged early environmental and caregiving adversity. Families are more likely to face those types of adversity when coping with poverty.

The study will be conducted by Clancy Blair and Cybele Raver, professors in NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Applied Psychology in partnership with the Children’s Aid Society, the Education Alliance, and University Settlement—all providers of Early Head Start home visiting services.

Previous research has shown that poverty has an enormous negative impact on parenting, often leaving these caregivers emotionally drained and less able to respond sensitively to the needs of their infants. Moreover, other findings have revealed that poverty is stressful for children, which results in diminished performance outside the home. A study led by Blair, recently published in the journal Child Development, found that stress in the lives of poor children contributes to the early achievement gap between children from low-income homes and their more financially advantaged classmates.

Under the ACF grant, Blair and Raver will implement and evaluate an intervention, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up, or ABC, which has been shown with children in foster care to promote children’s attachment to their primary caregivers and to diminish toxic stress.

ABC is geared to help caregivers overcome their own psychological barriers that may interfere with providing appropriate care and teach them to be more responsive to their children's needs.

 The ACF-funded study will include 160 families living in poverty and participating in the federal Early Head Start program. The study will determine if the ABC intervention is effective with caregivers and in reducing toxic stress in their young children, and if so, the feasibility of making it a regular part of Early Head Start services.

ACF is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Federal Grants, Research, Faculty, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: James Devitt | (212) 998-6808

Steinhardt Researchers Receive $1.9 Million Grant to Address “Toxic Stress” in Poor Children

Search News

NYU In the News

Paying It Backward: NYU Alum Funds Scholarships

The Wall Street Journal profiled Trustee Evan Chesler on why he decided to chair the Momentum fund-raising campaign.

A Nobel Prize Party: Cheese, Bubbles, and a Boson

The New Yorker talked to Professor Kyle Cranmer and graduate student Sven Kreiss about NYU’s role in the discovery of the Higgs boson, which resulted in a Nobel prize for the scientists who predicted its existence.

The World as They Knew It

The New York Times reviewed the exhibit at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on how ancient Greeks and Romans mapped the known and unknown areas of their world.

Elite Institutions: Far More Diverse Than They Were 20 Years Ago

NYU made stronger gains over the last 20 years in increasing diversity than any other major research university, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Program Seeks to Nurture ‘Data Science Culture’
at Universities

The New York Times reported on the multi-million collaboration among NYU and two other universities to harness the potential of Big Data, including an interview with Professor Yann LeCun, director of NYU’s Center for Data Science.

NYU Footer