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How can the study of physiological reactivity contribute to our understanding of adversity and resilience processes in development?

  • Jelena Obradović (a1)

The focus of this article is to present current progress in understanding the interplay among adversity, physiological sensitivity to context, and adaptive functioning, with an emphasis on implications and future directions for resilience researchers. It includes a review of current literature that demonstrates (a) links between various levels of adversity exposure and variability in physiological reactivity, (b) how the interplay between children's physiological reactivity and different sources of risk and adversity relates to variability in adaptive functioning, and (c) various approaches for capturing a more dynamic nature of physiological reactivity and related processes. Throughout, important conceptual and empirical issues are highlighted.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jelena Obradović, Stanford University, School of Education, 485 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-3096; E-mail:
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Development and Psychopathology
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