Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Distress and Child Behavior During the Preschool Years 公开

Rudov, Lindsey Savanna (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/02870w13c?locale=zh
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Abstract

Abstract
Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Distress and Child Behavior During the Preschool Years

This study investigated the relationship between prenatal maternal distress and preschool children's internalizing and externalizing problems. This study also evaluated potential mediating (stress reactivity) and moderating (postnatal stress exposure) factors related to this process, thereby adding to the literature a clearer picture of the risk pathway associated with prenatal maternal distress exposure. During a lab visit, 74 preschool aged children were exposed to two consecutive stressor tasks, and baseline and post-stressor cortisol levels were analyzed in order to investigate HPA axis dysregulation. Child behavior was measured using a standardized assessment and was completed by both the mother and an alternate caregiver in order to reduce the impact of maternal bias on the results. Results revealed that prenatal maternal distress exposure was associated with HPA axis dysregulation in this sample and that child cortisol reactivity mediated the relationship between prenatal maternal distress and externalizing problems in childhood. Specifically, cortisol reactivity assumed a key role in the development of aggressive behavior in childhood; however, it did not mediate the relationship between prenatal maternal distress and child attention problems. Moreover, results suggested a moderating effect of current maternal stress on the relationship between child cortisol reactivity and behavior problems. Results indicated that greater levels of cortisol reactivity are more likely to be associated with higher levels of behavioral problems in children if the child is exposed to recent stressful life events. An interpretation of these findings and implications for clinical practice are addressed.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction...1

Theoretical foundation...1
Prenatal maternal distress exposure and child behavioral outcomes...2
The HPA axis as a mediator of the risk pathway...5
The moderating effect of postnatal stress exposure...8
The current study...10
Clarification of central aims...11

Method...11

Participants...11
Procedure...12
Measures...15

Results...17

Data analysis...17
Assessing potential confounds...19
Structural equation modeling...20
Interactions...24

Discussion...26

Limitations...28
Strengths...29
Implications...31
Future research directions...33
Conclusions...33

References...35
Figures...39
Tables...44

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