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Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development

Risk and Resilience

Prof. Dr. Lilly Shanahan

A first aim of the Risk and Resilience group at the Jacobs Center is to understand risk and protective factors in the development of stress-related diseases during the early life course, including of depression, anxiety, substance use, cardiovascular risk, and diseases of dysregulated immune function. That is, for whom, when and how do these mental and physical health problems (or their precursors) develop in the early lifespan? And, importantly, who is protected from them—despite facing considerable risks—and how?

When conducting research on these topics, one must understand developmental patterns of prevalence, co-occurrence, and service use for stress-related diseases in the early lifespan, and also of risk and protective factors. Therefore, a second aim is to conduct basic developmental-epidemiological research documenting such prevalence patterns in different populations.

When mental and physical health problems occur in the early life course, they constitute an important context for subsequent development. Therefore, a third aim of our work is to examine the subsequent mental, physical, social, and academic development of children and adolescents who suffered from mental and physical health problems in the early life course.