The ADAPT Project: Adaptation, Development, and Positive Trajectories in the context of childhood adversity

Over half of Canadians have experienced at least one childhood adversity (CA), which is linked to an increased risk of poor health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Current approaches have focused on linking CA to poor outcomes, yet this approach overstates the impact of risk and devalues the importance of protective factors enabling individuals to withstand, adapt, and recover. The focus on outcomes may also fail to capture the trajectories of wellbeing and cyclical nature of resilience and vulnerability.

This program of research utilizes a mixed-methods approach to explore pathways to wellbeing in the context of CA, focusing on the timing and type of protective factors. To fully understand how socio-environmental and biological factors contribute to health and wellbeing inequity due to CA, we must examine the pathways to impairment and wellbeing using a developmentally informed framework. Changing the question from ‘how are youth at risk’ to ‘how do youth adapt,’ and shifting to a model where those with trauma histories are not defined by their risk. Findings will produce actionable evidence for practitioners and policymakers to develop early intervention and prevention programs fostering health equity for those with CA.