This web page is a product of the third Klaus-Grawe Think Tank meeting, hosted by the Klaus-Grawe Foundation, which took place from June 23 to 27, 2012, in Zuoz, Switzerland. This page contains a set of briefing papers written for the meeting, and publications subsequent to the meeting. The title of the meeting was “Children as victims: Psychosocial and psychobiological sequelae of early life violence exposure, state-of the art, future research recommendations and goals for translation to prevention and intervention programs.”  It was co-hosted by Dr. Terrie Moffitt, Dr. Avshalom Caspi, and Dr. Mariann Grawe-Gerber. Twelve international experts participated in this think-tank-meeting representing the areas of developmental psychology, neurosciences, genetics, epigenetics, immunology, clinical psychology, child psychiatry, and clinical service delivery and social policy.

Our objective was to examine the scientific status of the hypothesis that a cumulative history of stress in the first two decades of life exacerbates individuals’ risk of poor mental and physical health in adult life. Statistical connections between early-life stress and mid-life disease morbidity and mortality have already been documented. But the missing piece of the puzzle is what alterations in brain and body can account for the connection between a stressful childhood and a disease that emerges only 30 or 40 years later? Specifically, we debated the hypothesis that children who suffer exposure to violence during childhood and/or adolescence (physical or sexual maltreatment, witnessing parental domestic violence, bullying victimization, assaults) show abnormal status on sub-clinical psychobiological measures. These measures (neuropsychological tests, immunological biomarkers, and epigenomic changes) are thought to tap the key mediators on the etiological pathways connecting childhood stress to later adulthood diseases (such as depression, psychosis, substance dependence, dementia, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes).

The Klaus-Grawe Foundation's purpose is to promote excellent, interdisciplinary and innovative research in clinical psychology and psychotherapy and their connected disciplines in order to improve prevention and treatment of psychological problems and disorders and to disseminate empirically supported programs to the public through a variety of delivery systems to individuals, couples, families, businesses, and institutions.

Participants: in alphabetical order, Don Baucom (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Avshalom Caspi (Duke University and King’s college London), Edith Chen (Northwestern University), Andrea Danese (King’s College London), Helen Fisher (King’s College London), Kurt Halweg (Technische Universität Braunschweig),  Nina Heinrichs (Universität Bielefeld), Barbara Heiniger Haldimann (Klaus-Grawe-Institut für Psychologische Therapie), Mariann Grawe-Gerber (Klaus-Grawe-Institut für Psychologische Therapie), Jonathan Mill (King’s College London), Gregory Miller (Northwestern University), Terrie E. Moffitt (Duke University and King’s college London), Carmine Pariante (King’s College London), Matt Sanders (University of Queensland), Idan Shalev (Duke University), Susanne Walitza (University of Zurich), and student participants Ann-Katrin Job (Technische Universität Braunschweig), Misa Kuper-Yamanaka (Klaus-Grawe-Institut)