Pediatric Annals

Feature Article 

Child Stress

Beth Ellen Davis, MD, MPH; Elisabeth M. Stafford, MD

  • Pediatric Annals. 2007;36(4)
  • Posted April 1, 2007

Abstract

Pediatricians can provide significant support to children and their families by recognizing and responding to excessive stress when it is present in clinical encounters. With the recent natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita leading to the displacement of thousands of children and their families, and ongoing armed conflicts affecting military families as examples of extraordinary or excessive stress on the nation as a whole, pediatricians must be attuned to signs and symptoms of childhood stress. This includes the ability to proactively incorporate screening and assessment of stress in children and their families. There is strong evidence that excessive stress can interfere with critical caregiver/child relationships, carve the initial ruts that lead to future paths of unhealthy coping, and adversely affect the developing brain and overall health and well-being of the child. It is valuable to review the evolving literature on the spectrum of childhood stress, particularly where early identification and intervention can prevent adverse outcomes as children mature.

ABOUT THE GUEST EDITORS

Beth Ellen Davis, MD, MPH, a graduate of Davidson College, completed her medical degree and pediatric training at the University of Virginia.

After 10 years as a busy general pediatrician in the Army, COL Davis completed a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. She also received a master’s degree in public health at the University of Washington. She is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine and is Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington. She has been the principal investigator and first author of many clinical research articles and has contributed to book chapters, journal reviews, and national presentations.

COL Davis is Chief of the Developmental Services at Madigan Army Medical Center and is the Program Director of the only military Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship for the Department of Defense. As the Chair of the Uniformed Services Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, representing more than 900 uniformed service pediatricians, helping pediatricians and other providers to better understand, identify, and treat the effects of deployment in children has become significant throughout the past few years. Elisabeth M. Stafford, MD, a graduate of Texas A&M University, completed her medical degree at University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine at San Antonio in 1981 and her pediatric residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii in 1984.

COL Stafford subsequently completed an Adolescent Medicine fellowship at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas in 1986. Since that time, she has taught pediatrics and adolescent medicine to countless military and civilian medical students, residents, and fellows. She is adjunct Professor of Pediatrics for the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Department of Pediatrics and serves as adjunct faculty for the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine.

COL Stafford is the program director for the only military adolescent medicine fellowship and is a faculty member of the San Antonio Military Pediatric Center. She has authored numerous clinical research articles, book chapters, review articles, and commentaries and regularly presents at national meetings on advocacy and support for the military family within the clinical setting.

Abstract

Pediatricians can provide significant support to children and their families by recognizing and responding to excessive stress when it is present in clinical encounters. With the recent natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita leading to the displacement of thousands of children and their families, and ongoing armed conflicts affecting military families as examples of extraordinary or excessive stress on the nation as a whole, pediatricians must be attuned to signs and symptoms of childhood stress. This includes the ability to proactively incorporate screening and assessment of stress in children and their families. There is strong evidence that excessive stress can interfere with critical caregiver/child relationships, carve the initial ruts that lead to future paths of unhealthy coping, and adversely affect the developing brain and overall health and well-being of the child. It is valuable to review the evolving literature on the spectrum of childhood stress, particularly where early identification and intervention can prevent adverse outcomes as children mature.

ABOUT THE GUEST EDITORS

Beth Ellen Davis, MD, MPH, a graduate of Davidson College, completed her medical degree and pediatric training at the University of Virginia.

After 10 years as a busy general pediatrician in the Army, COL Davis completed a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. She also received a master’s degree in public health at the University of Washington. She is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine and is Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington. She has been the principal investigator and first author of many clinical research articles and has contributed to book chapters, journal reviews, and national presentations.

COL Davis is Chief of the Developmental Services at Madigan Army Medical Center and is the Program Director of the only military Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship for the Department of Defense. As the Chair of the Uniformed Services Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, representing more than 900 uniformed service pediatricians, helping pediatricians and other providers to better understand, identify, and treat the effects of deployment in children has become significant throughout the past few years. Elisabeth M. Stafford, MD, a graduate of Texas A&M University, completed her medical degree at University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine at San Antonio in 1981 and her pediatric residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii in 1984.

COL Stafford subsequently completed an Adolescent Medicine fellowship at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas in 1986. Since that time, she has taught pediatrics and adolescent medicine to countless military and civilian medical students, residents, and fellows. She is adjunct Professor of Pediatrics for the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Department of Pediatrics and serves as adjunct faculty for the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine.

COL Stafford is the program director for the only military adolescent medicine fellowship and is a faculty member of the San Antonio Military Pediatric Center. She has authored numerous clinical research articles, book chapters, review articles, and commentaries and regularly presents at national meetings on advocacy and support for the military family within the clinical setting.

Pediatricians can provide significant support to children and their families by recognizing and responding to excessive stress when it is present in clinical encounters. With the recent natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita leading to the displacement of thousands of children and their families, and ongoing armed conflicts affecting military families as examples of extraordinary or excessive stress on the nation as a whole, pediatricians must be attuned to signs and symptoms of childhood stress. This includes the ability to proactively incorporate screening and assessment of stress in children and their families. There is strong evidence that excessive stress can interfere with critical caregiver/child relationships, carve the initial ruts that lead to future paths of unhealthy coping, and adversely affect the developing brain and overall health and well-being of the child. It is valuable to review the evolving literature on the spectrum of childhood stress, particularly where early identification and intervention can prevent adverse outcomes as children mature.

ABOUT THE GUEST EDITORS

Beth Ellen Davis, MD, MPH, a graduate of Davidson College, completed her medical degree and pediatric training at the University of Virginia.

After 10 years as a busy general pediatrician in the Army, COL Davis completed a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. She also received a master’s degree in public health at the University of Washington. She is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine and is Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington. She has been the principal investigator and first author of many clinical research articles and has contributed to book chapters, journal reviews, and national presentations.

COL Davis is Chief of the Developmental Services at Madigan Army Medical Center and is the Program Director of the only military Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship for the Department of Defense. As the Chair of the Uniformed Services Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, representing more than 900 uniformed service pediatricians, helping pediatricians and other providers to better understand, identify, and treat the effects of deployment in children has become significant throughout the past few years. Elisabeth M. Stafford, MD, a graduate of Texas A&M University, completed her medical degree at University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine at San Antonio in 1981 and her pediatric residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii in 1984.

COL Stafford subsequently completed an Adolescent Medicine fellowship at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas in 1986. Since that time, she has taught pediatrics and adolescent medicine to countless military and civilian medical students, residents, and fellows. She is adjunct Professor of Pediatrics for the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Department of Pediatrics and serves as adjunct faculty for the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine.

COL Stafford is the program director for the only military adolescent medicine fellowship and is a faculty member of the San Antonio Military Pediatric Center. She has authored numerous clinical research articles, book chapters, review articles, and commentaries and regularly presents at national meetings on advocacy and support for the military family within the clinical setting.

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