AFFECTIVE DISTURBANCES IN INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

DESCRIPTION (Adapted from applicant's abstract): This revised Senior
Scientist Award application seeks to conduct research on maternal depression
effects. The proposed model and studies follow from recent pilot data
suggesting that: 1) withdrawn and intrusive depressed mothers have
differential effects on their infants' behavior and development; and 2)
infants of withdrawn depressed mothers show dysregulation as early as the
neonatal period (unresponsive behavior, low activity level, indeterminate
sleep, low vagal tone, right frontal EEG activation, elevated norepinephrine
and low dopamine levels). Based on these data, predictions are made about
how these infants might differ from the fetal (last trimester) to the
preschool stage on behavioral/physiological/neurotransmitter measures.

The model suggests that a neurotransmitter imbalance in the withdrawn
depressed mothers (elevated norepinephrine/depressed dopamine) during
pregnancy may contribute to their newborns' dysregulation (with precursor
signs of lower fetal activity and heart rate variability) and that the
dysregulation pattern at the neonatal period is then compounded by
inadequate stimulation and arousal modulation from the withdrawn depressed
mothers. The model will be tested by recruiting depressed mothers at the
prenatal stage, then identifying those depressed mothers who are withdrawn
or intrusive at the 3-month postnatal stage, and following the dyads
prospectively to the preschool stage. Mentoring/collaborative activities
will include inviting colleagues researching: 1) fetal behavior; 2) brain
activity monitoring; or 3) neurotransmitter activity to a working symposium,
inviting them again for group consulting visits and visiting their
laboratories to learn Doppler technology for recording fetal movement and
heart rate, to improve facial expression coding, to update EEG recording and
to learn newer monitoring technologies as well as the complex interactions
between neurotransmitter systems. Hopefully the research will help identify
the infants of depressed mothers who are most at risk, as well as suggest
specific interventions for the different profile depressed mother-infant
dyads.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date3/1/922/28/02

Funding

  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $41,173.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $61,697.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $102,870.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health

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