Toxic Stress – FrameWorks

Diane Benjamin

Brain Architecture, Social Policy, Serve and Return, Framing Metaphor, Stress, Brain Plasticity

FrameWorks Institute, June 2010

Ms. Diane Benjamin, from FrameWorks Institute, shares multi-method research findings on how to talk about toxic stress. Toxic stress is a simplifying model, or explanatory metaphor, that was designed and tested as effective in helping the public understand that there are different kinds of stress: positive stress, tolerable stress, and toxic stress. The latter, comprising abuse or neglect, can change the brain's architecture, negatively impacting subsequent development. Ms. Benjamin concludes with an overview of the core story of early childhood development and child mental health.


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