The Adaptive Calibration Model (ACM) is a new concept relating to stress development. The ACM differs from other theories regarding stress sensitivity in that it approaches stress reactivity from three key angles; evolutionary, adaptive, and responsive. Specifically, the ACM integrates risk factors such as depression or anxiety, environmental stressors such as family conflict, violence or aggression, and individual responsiveness to stress. The current model suggests that all of these components influence the development of stress in an individual. However, this model has not been tested thoroughly.
To further validate the ACM, Marco Del Giudice of the Department of Psychology at the University of Turin in Italy recently led a study that evaluated stress in 256 children ranging from 8 to 10 years old. Del Giudice predicted that his results would expand the three categories of stress responsiveness to four, including unemotional, vigilant, buffered, and sensitive. After analyzing the results, Del Giudice made some interesting discoveries. First, in line with his prediction, the participants responded in unique ways that justified the addition of a fourth category of responsiveness with more girls than boys falling into the vigilant category. However, in direct contrast to his prediction, the sensitive class was represented by more boys than girls.
The findings also revealed marked differences in how specific factors influenced stress. Del Giudice found that environmental factors such as maternal depression, socioeconomic difficulties, or family substance use did not have a direct impact on stress but family conflict did. This finding underscores the significance of healthy family relationships on mental well-being. Del Giudice noted that although ecological conditions affected the participants’ stress only minimally, the sample used in this study was highly concentrated with high-risk children, which could account for the ecological findings. Del Giudice also believes that the young age of the participants in this study limits the findings. He recommends future studies include children from broader socioeconomic conditions and adolescents of varied ages in order to accurately assess the role of each factor, including gender and age, on the development of stress. Del Giudice added, “The present investigation offers a preliminary test of the model and highlights some of the methodological challenges that will need to be considered in future research on this topic.”
Del Giudice, M., Ellis, B. J., Hinnant, J. B., El-Sheikh, M. (2012). Adaptive patterns of stress responsivity: A preliminary investigation. Developmental Psychology 48.3, 775-790.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.