This question is from Hertzman, C & Boyce, T (2010). How Experience Gets Under the Skin to Create Gradients in Developmental Health (Links to an external site.). Annual Review of Public...

This question is from Hertzman, C & Boyce, T (2010). How Experience Gets Under the Skin to Create Gradients in Developmental Health (Links to an external site.). Annual Review of Public Health, 31: 329-347. 

What is the main point? What is surprising and why?

 

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main idea of "How Experience Gets Under the Skin to Create Gradients in Developmental Health" is that a child's social experiences and environment have the potential to affect his or her development over a lifetime, including not only health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, but also conditions such as success in school, early memory loss, disability at retirement, and depression. Early exposure to stressful events seems to increase one's risk for multiple disorders through many different pathways. Early experiences produce gradients through the process of biological embedding. This means that the lower a child's socio-economic status, the lower his or her developmental outcome over a lifetime. Gradients include not only a child's socio-economic status but also his or her relative social standing among peers.

What is surprising is that early childhood experiences have the potential to affect people many years later. In addition, it is surprising that people show some variability in reaction to life experiences. As stated in the conclusion of the article, about 15% of children show higher reactivity to their surroundings than other children do.