Children raised in difficult circumstances have a surprising advantage

Posted on October 15, 2015

Photo: flickr

When it came to mental flexibility, recent research shows that people with a history of childhood adversity actually outperformed their more fortunate peers.

This confirmed the general pattern: participants who said they’d had an unpredictable early life (changes in residence, movement of other cohabitants in and out of home, and changes in parents’ employment status) performed worse at inhibition, but better at shifting.

The mental process of inhibition allows people to pursue goals and underlies the willpower to stick with things, characteristics that encourage personal success. But shifting ability is also associated with a higher-order ability that’s important in life: creativity.

This research suggests, if not a bright side, a more nuanced perspective on children raised in difficult circumstances. People aren’t passively victimised by their circumstances – they adapt to them, sometimes in ways that make it easier to thrive in challenging conditions.

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Category(s):Child and/or Adolescent Issues, Child Development

Source material from Research Digest