Early family adversity and cognitive performance in aging: A lifespan developmental model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


While the beneficial impact of positive social relationships on health is well-documented, recent research suggests that family-of-origin relationships can also impact health and physiological responses to stress later in life. Animal studies have shown that the impact of adverse caregiving extends beyond physical health outcomes to exert a long-term effect on cognitive performance. Human studies have related early family adversity to long-term physical health, but have not yet evaluated age-related cognitive outcomes. The current paper considers evidence for a model proposing that early family adversity such as abusive or neglectful parenting can impact cognitive performance in older adulthood through psychosocial, behavioral, and health-related pathways operating across the lifespan. Evidence to support each pathway is discussed, along with limitations and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-52
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Cite this