Primate Evidence on the Late Health Effects of Early Life Adversity
Gabriella Conti, Christopher Hansman, James J. Heckman, Matthew F. X. Novak, Angela Ruggiero, Stephen J. Suomi
This paper exploits a unique ongoing experiment to analyze the effects of early rearing conditions on physical and mental health in a sample of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). We analyze the health records of 231 monkeys which were randomly allocated at birth across three rearing conditions: Mother Rearing, Peer Rearing, and Surrogate Peer Rearing. We show that the lack of a secure attachment relationship in the early years engendered by adverse rearing conditions has detrimental long-term effects on health which are not compensated by a normal social environment later in life.
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