SRCD Members in the News: Dr. Jay Belsky
In The Origins of You, SRCD member Jay Belsky and co-authors Avshalom Caspi, Terrie Moffitt, and Richie Poulton share what they have learned about childhood, adolescence, adulthood, about genes and parenting, and about vulnerability, resilience, and success.
Does temperament in childhood predict adult personality? What role do parents play in shaping how a child matures? Is day care bad—or good—for children? Does adolescent delinquency forecast a life of crime? Do genes influence success in life? Is health in adulthood shaped by childhood experiences? The evidence shows that human development is not subject to ironclad laws but instead is a matter of possibilities and probabilities—multiple forces that together determine the direction a life will take. A child’s early years do predict who they will become later in life, but they do so imperfectly. For example, genes and troubled families both play a role in violent male behavior, and, though health and heredity sometimes go hand in hand, childhood adversity and severe bullying in adolescence can affect even physical well-being in midlife.
Jay Belsky is the Robert M. and Natalie Reid Dorn Professor of Human Development at the University of California, Davis. He was a founding investigator of the NIH Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development in the United States and the National Evaluation of Sure Start in the United Kingdom. Avshalom Caspi is the Edward M. Arnett Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University and Professor of Personality Development at King’s College London. Terrie E. Moffitt is the Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor at Duke University and Professor of Social Behaviour and Development at King’s College London. Richie Poulton is Professor of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, where he serves as codirector of the National Centre for Lifecourse Research.