Can a Pandemic Have a Silver Lining? with Dr. Danielle Roubinov

Season 2Episode 17September 10, 2020

COVID-19 has upended our world, but Dr. Danielle Roubinov of the University of California says it has also forced researchers to innovate in ways that could help kids and families handle adversity in the future.

Dr. Danielle Roubinov of the University of California joins us to discuss a “research manifesto” letter she and her colleagues published in JAMA Pediatrics in August. Even as a novel coronavirus has upended our world, leading to new public health and safety guidelines that are playing hob with many research projects, it is also fostering innovation. The result has, in some ways, catalyzed research into early childhood adversity.

COVID-19 has also ratcheted up the pressure on parents. Dr. Roubinov has a hopeful message for them, too: Even small positive experiences, and having a strong relationship with a caring adult, can help a child weather adversity.

In this episode:

  • The intersection of childhood adversity and the pandemic (1:32)
  • Why we focus on the negative (4:49)
  • Concerns about disparities and about parents’ mental health (9:51)
  • The absence of a negative is not always a positive (14:12)
  • Polystrengths, and the importance of caregivers (16:48)
  • ABC intervention: Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (27:15)
  • An open letter to policymakers (35:35)
  • A message for parents (37:52)


Danielle Roubinov, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco

How a Pandemic Could Advance the Science of Early Adversity.” JAMA Pediatrics. 2020 Jul 27. Roubinov D, Bush NR, Boyce WT. PMID: 32716499.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

Greater Than the Sum—Multiple Adversities in Children’s Lives,” One in Ten interview with Sherry Hamby, Ph.D., originally aired on February 14 (as “Mending the Tears of Violence”). Rebroadcast on August 6, 2020

Ann S. Masten Ph.D.Ordinary Magic: Resilience in Development

Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC intervention) was developed by Mary Dozier, Ph.D., at the University of Delaware

Transcript to come.