Cumulative Risk and Protective Factors: Case Studies of the Neurodevelopment of Children Exposed to Substances
Bondi, Bianca Christina
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This research explored the impact of cumulative risk and protection on the neurodevelopment of children exposed prenatally to substances. My research was conducted at Breaking the Cycle (BTC), an early intervention program for substance-exposed children. I established theoretically grounded cross-domain cumulative risk and protection measures to quantify cumulative risk and protection, alongside qualitative case study descriptions, for three sibling groups at BTC. I also described each childs neurodevelopmental profile. The emerging patterns of cumulative risk and protection as they related to neurodevelopment highlighted the importance of a qualitative, cumulative, and cross-domain consideration of risk and protection. The results demonstrated that neurodevelopment and clinical progress are dependent on the balance between levels of cumulative risk and protection; however, in exploring the variability within and between sibling groups, there appeared to be an effect of early-intervention. This research has practice and policy implications for early intervention support with this population.