Changing Lives - Childhood Adversity and Lifetime Resilience

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'Changing Lives - Childhood Adversity and Lifetime Resilience'


Professor Siân Pooley   |   Faculty of History   |   University of Oxford

Professor Lucy Bowes   |   Department of Experimental Psychology   |   University of Oxford



This Knowledge Exchange Project 'Changing Lives: Understanding What Enables Children Growing Up in Adversity to Thrive in Modern Britain' was funded by the University of Oxford’s Social Sciences ESRC Impact Acceleration Account and Magdalen College, Oxford.

This knowledge exchange project forms a network of practice-led partners from children’s health and social care, local government, children’s charities, and researchers from the humanities, social and medical sciences, all focused on the task of identifying, analysing, sharing and using evidence for what best supports children exposed to maltreatment to thrive in adverse circumstances.

The project focuses on the question of evidence for success: what do we know – and what do we need to find out – about relationships, environments, resources, actions and interventions that support children to thrive when growing up in adversity. This includes 4 questions:

  • What do we already know about what helps which children and when?
  • How should we conceptualise what it means for children exposed to maltreatment to thrive?
  • How can research on children’s changing lives be designed so that its implications can be translated into useable evidence for policy-makers, professionals, carers and children?
  • What are the benefits – and pitfalls – of focusing on the complex pathways through which people are supported to find ways to thrive following adversity in early life?

A workshop brought together invited experts with diverse expertise in July 2017. By forming a network of academic and practice-led experts focused on understanding complex, contextualised longitudinal trajectories and the processes that enable positive change, the workshop developed a new approach to providing support for children who have experienced maltreatment and adversity.

One of the outcomes of this knowledge exchange project was a video that shares key messages that emerged from the collaboration.


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