The impact of maternal childhood abuse on maternal and infant HPA axis function in the postpartum period
ABSTRACT BackgroundEarly life trauma, particularly child abuse, has been associated with aberrations in hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis functioning in adulthood. However, the relationship of early abuse and later adult neuroendocrine changes may be moderated by additional factors such as comorbid psychopathology and recent life stress. Parental exposure to child abuse may have transgenerational effects, with offspring of abuse victims showing similar neuroendocrine profiles as their mothers. The majority of previous studies in this area focus on adult offspring, and the degree to which the effects of parental child abuse can be detected earlier in the development of the offspring remains obscure.MethodsThe current study utilized a clinical sample of women with a history of MDD (N = 126), to examine the effects of maternal early life sexual and physical abuse (Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ)) on both maternal and infant salivary cortisol levels during a laboratory stress paradigm at 6 months postpartum.ResultsMaternal child abuse was associated with steeper declines in cortisol in the mothers and lower baseline cortisol in their infants. Comorbid maternal PTSD, current maternal depressive symptoms, and recent life stressors were significant moderators of maternal cortisol change. Maternal abuse history was associated with increases in cortisol levels in those mothers who experienced these additional stressors. Similarly, a history of early maternal abuse and comorbid PTSD was associated with greater increases in infant cortisol levels.ConclusionsMaternal childhood abuse was associated with HPA axis function in both the mother and the infant during the postpartum period.
SourceAvailable from: Maria Muzik
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ABSTRACT: Child maltreatment has the potential to alter a child's neurodevelopmental trajectory and substantially increase the risk of later psychiatric disorders, as well as to deleteriously impact neurocognitive functioning throughout the lifespan. Child maltreatment has been linked to multiple domains of neurocognitive impairment, including language, visual–spatial functioning, intelligence, executive functioning, and motor skills. Research is increasingly indicating that alterations in neurobiological functioning occur as a result of childhood maltreatment, which in turn may produce an epigenetic and transgenerational effect. School psychologists should be aware of these factors when working with maltreated children to better understand their current functioning and assessment results, and to educate family members, school personnel, and the community about the adverse effects of childhood maltreatment, as well as to work toward prevention.Psychology in the Schools 10/2014; DOI:10.1002/pits.21806 · 0.72 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recently postpartum women participated to investigate main and moderating influences of resilience and childhood history of maltreatment on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), parental sense of mastery, and family functioning. At 4-months postpartum, 214 mothers (145 with a history of childhood abuse or neglect) completed interviews assessing mental health symptoms, positive functioning, resilience and trauma history. Multiple and moderated linear regression with the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) and Childhood Trauma Questionnaires (CTQ) were conducted to assess for main and moderating effects. Resilience, childhood trauma severity, and their interaction predicted postpartum PTSD and MDD. In mothers without childhood maltreatment, PTSD was absent irrespective of CD-RISC scores. However, for those with the highest quartile of CTQ severity, 8% of those with highest resilience in contrast with 58% of those with lowest CD-RISC scores met PTSD diagnostic criteria. Similar, in those with highest resilience, no mothers met criteria for postpartum MDD, irrespective of childhood trauma, while for those with lowest quartile of resilience, 25% with lowest CTQ severity and 68% of those with highest CTQ severity were depressed. The CD-RISC, but not the CTQ, was predictive of postpartum sense of competence. The CD-RISC and the CTQ were predictive of postpartum family functioning, though no moderating influence of resilience on childhood trauma was found. Resilience is associated with reduced psychopathology and improved wellbeing in all mothers. It further serves as a buffer against psychiatric symptoms following childhood trauma. Such findings may assist in identification of those at greatest risk of adverse functioning postpartum, utilization of resilience-enhancing intervention may benefit perinatal wellness, and reduce intergenerational transmission of risk. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.Journal of Affective Disorders 12/2014; 174C:562-568. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.12.036 · 3.71 Impact Factor