Nancy Snidman

University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Are you Nancy Snidman?

Claim your profile

Publications (61)291.53 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The current study examined whether and how children whose reactivity profiles were classified in infancy differed systematically in their peer relationships, social ease, and anxiety in middle childhood. Children who were low reactive infants were less likely to report being shy in middle childhood and were also considered less shy by observers. Mothers’ disciplinary responses to their children were also examined; mothers of low reactives were more likely to employ reasoning as a response to verbal conflict than other mothers. The study employed a multi-informant assessment approach, utilizing reports from the children themselves, their mothers, their teachers, and independent observers and examined the extent to which these reports concurred. Though reactivity in infancy had different behavioral implications for both children and their parents in middle childhood, these differences were moderate.
    Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 12/2013; · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research carried out by Jerome Kagan and associates on the temperamental profiles of inhibited and uninhibited behaviour in children has established a strong link between high motor, high cry behaviours in response to novel stimuli at 4 months and inhibited reactions to the unfamiliar at 2 years, and low motor, low cry behaviours in response to novel stimuli at 4 months and uninhibited reactions to the unfamiliar at 2 years. A number of empirical rmdings and theoretical considerations suggested that Irish infants might be disproportionately more likely than V.S. infants to exhibit inhibited behaviour profiles. A sample of Irish infants (n=107) was assessed for motor and cry reactivity to novel stimuli and categorised into 4 different groups: (1) high motor, high cry, (2) high motor, low cry, (3) low motor, high cry and (4) low motor, low cry. The resulting data were compared to those of a matched V.S. sample. Only 7% of the Irish infants. compared to 23% of the V.S. infants, were placed in the high motor, high cry category, while 53% of the Irish infants and 35% of the V.S. infants were placed in the low motor. low cry category. This sample of 4-month-old Irish infants showed less reactivity to novel stimuli than U.S. infants and therefore would be predicted to have a relatively lower percentage of children categorised as inhibited at a later stage.
    The Irish Journal of Psychology. 11/2012; 12(2):248-262.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: One of the central questions that has occupied those disciplines concerned with human development is the nature of continuities and discontinuities from birth to maturity. The amygdala has a central role in the processing of novelty and emotion in the brain. Although there is considerable variability among individuals in the reactivity of the amygdala to novel and emotional stimuli, the origin of these individual differences is not well understood. Four-month old infants called high reactive (HR) demonstrate a distinctive pattern of vigorous motor activity and crying to specific unfamiliar visual, auditory and olfactory stimuli in the laboratory. Low-reactive infants show the complementary pattern. Here, we demonstrate that the HR infant phenotype predicts greater amygdalar reactivity to novel faces almost two decades later in adults. A prediction of individual differences in brain function at maturity can be made on the basis of a single behavioral assessment made in the laboratory at 4 months of age. This is the earliest known human behavioral phenotype that predicts individual differences in patterns of neural activity at maturity. These temperamental differences rooted in infancy may be relevant to understanding individual differences in vulnerability and resilience to clinical psychiatric disorder. Males who were HR infants showed particularly high levels of reactivity to novel faces in the amygdala that distinguished them as adults from all other sex/temperament subgroups, suggesting that their amygdala is particularly prone to engagement by unfamiliar faces. These findings underline the importance of taking gender into account when studying the developmental neurobiology of human temperament and anxiety disorders. The genetic study of behavioral and biologic intermediate phenotypes (or 'endophenotypes') indexing anxiety-proneness offers an important alternative to examining phenotypes based on clinically defined disorder. As the HR phenotype is characterized by specific patterns of reactivity to elemental visual, olfactory and auditory stimuli, well before complex social behaviors such as shyness or fearful interaction with strangers can be observed, it may be closer to underlying neurobiological mechanisms than behavioral profiles observed later in life. This possibility, together with the fact that environmental factors have less time to impact the 4-month phenotype, suggests that this temperamental profile may be a fruitful target for high-risk genetic studies.
    Molecular psychiatry 09/2011; 17(10):1042-50. · 15.05 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The term temperament refers to a biologically based predilection for a distinctive pattern of emotions, cognitions, and behaviors first observed in infancy or early childhood. High-reactive infants are characterized at age 4 months by vigorous motor activity and crying in response to unfamiliar visual, auditory, and olfactory stimuli, whereas low-reactive infants show low motor activity and low vocal distress to the same stimuli. High-reactive infants are biased to become behaviorally inhibited in the second year of life, defined by timidity with unfamiliar people, objects, and situations. In contrast, low-reactive infants are biased to develop into uninhibited children who spontaneously approach novel situations. To examine whether differences in the structure of the ventromedial or orbitofrontal cerebral cortex at age 18 years are associated with high or low reactivity at 4 months of age. Structural magnetic resonance imaging in a cohort of 18-year-olds enrolled in a longitudinal study. Temperament was determined at 4 months of age by direct observation in the laboratory. Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital. Seventy-six subjects who were high-reactive or low-reactive infants at 4 months of age. Cortical thickness. Adults with a low-reactive infant temperament, compared with those categorized as high reactive, showed greater thickness in the left orbitofrontal cortex. Subjects categorized as high reactive in infancy, compared with those previously categorized as low reactive, showed greater thickness in the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that temperamental differences measured at 4 months of age have implications for the architecture of human cerebral cortex lasting into adulthood. Understanding the developmental mechanisms that shape these differences may offer new ways to understand mood and anxiety disorders as well as the formation of adult personality.
    Archives of general psychiatry 01/2010; 67(1):78-84. · 12.26 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study tested the hypothesis that very young children who received more morphine for acute burns would have larger decreases in posttraumatic symptoms 3 to 6 months later. This has never before been studied in very young children, despite the high frequency of burns and trauma in this age group. Seventy 12- to 48-month-old nonvented children with acute burns admitted to a major pediatric burn center and their parents participated. Parents were interviewed at three time points: during their child's hospitalization, 1 month, and 3 to 6 months after discharge. Measures included the Child Stress Disorders Checklist - Burn Version (CSDC-B). Chart reviews were conducted to obtain children's morphine dosages during hospitalization. Mean equivalency dosages of morphine (mg/kg/d) were calculated to combine oral and intravenous administrations. Eleven participants had complete 3 to 6-month data on the CSDC. The correlation between average morphine dose and amount of decrease in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms on the CSDC (r = -0.32) was similar to that found in studies with older children. The correlation between morphine dose and amount of decrease in symptoms on the arousal cluster of the CSDC was significant (r = -0.63, P < .05). Findings from the current study suggest that, for young children, management of pain with higher doses of morphine may be associated with a decreasing number of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, especially those of arousal, in the months after major trauma. This extends, with very young children, the previous findings with 6- to 16-year olds.
    Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 08/2009; 30(5):836-43. · 1.54 Impact Factor
  • NeuroImage 01/2009; 47. · 6.25 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Jerome Kagan, Nancy Snidman, Doreen Arcus
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A group of 193 children, classified as high or low reactive to stimulation at 4 months and observed again at 14 and 21 months, were observed at 4½ years of age for behavioral signs of inhibited or uninhibited behavior. Children who had been high reactive were less spontaneous and less sociable than those who had been classified as low reactive, but only a small proportion of children maintained a consistently inhibited or uninhibited phenotype at all ages.
    Child Development 09/2008; 69(6):1483 - 1493. · 4.92 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 02/2007; 72(2):1-75, vii; discussion 76-91. · 5.50 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are a focus of much research with older children, but little research has been conducted with young children, who account for about 40% of all pediatric burn injuries. This is a longitudinal study of 72 acutely burned children (12-48 months old) that assessed the course of acute posttraumatic symptoms and physiological reactivity. Parents were interviewed shortly after their child was admitted to the hospital and 1 month after discharge. PTSD symptoms were measured with the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents (DICA) module. Nurses recorded the child's physiological data throughout the hospital stay. The child's physical and behavioral responses were assessed in a laboratory at about 1 month after discharge. Reduced social smiling in the children was related to PTSD symptoms, as measured by the DICA, and heart rate at 24 hours and 7 days. Reduced vocalization was related to the child's rating of pain at 24 hours. Smiling and vocalizations were also related to some DICA cluster scores but not avoidance. Preschool children admitted to a burn unit demonstrated PTSD symptoms and physiological reactivity. There was a relation to the frequency of smiles and vocalizations.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 07/2006; 163(6):1084-90. · 14.72 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to assess the role of trauma severity on subsequent symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physiological reactivity in a total of 70 children, ranging from 12 to 48 months of age, who were acutely burned. Parents were interviewed shortly after the child was admitted to the hospital. PTSD symptoms were measured using the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Semi-Structured Interview and Observational Record for Infants and Young Children and the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents. Nurses completed a questionnaire about the child's symptoms and recorded the child's physiological data throughout the hospital stay. Significant relationships were found between severity of childhood trauma and the total number of PTSD symptoms and physiological reactivity. This study supports the hypothesis that severity of trauma experienced by young children influences psychological and physiological stress indicators after burn injuries. These findings provide new directions for the assessment and prevention of PTSD in this age group.
    Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 01/2006; 27(2):174-82. · 1.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Behavioral inhibition to the unfamiliar (BI) is a heritable temperamental phenotype involving the tendency to display fearful, avoidant, or shy behavior in novel situations. BI is a familial and developmental risk factor for panic and phobic anxiety disorders. We previously observed an association between BI and a microsatellite marker linked to the corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) gene in children at risk for panic disorder. To evaluate this further, we genotyped additional families for this marker and a panel of markers encompassing the CRH locus. Sixty-two families that included parents with panic disorder and children who underwent laboratory-based behavioral observations were studied. Family-based association tests and haplotype analysis were used to evaluate the association between BI and polymorphisms spanning the CRH locus. We examined a set of markers which we found to reside in a block of strong linkage disequilibrium encompassing the CRH locus. The BI phenotype was associated with the microsatellite marker (p=.0016) and three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including a SNP in the coding sequence of the gene (p=.023). Haplotype-specific tests revealed association with a haplotype comprising all of the markers (p=.015). These results suggest that the CRH gene influences inhibited temperament, a risk factor for panic and phobic anxiety disorders. Genetic studies of anxiety-related temperament represent an important strategy for identifying the genetic basis of anxiety disorders.
    Biological Psychiatry 07/2005; 57(12):1485-92. · 9.25 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The effects of maternal antenatal and postnatal anxiety and depression on infant neg-ative behavioral reactivity were examined in a sample of 22 mother–infant pairs.
    Infancy 11/2004; · 1.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Behavioral inhibition to the unfamiliar (BI), a heritable temperamental profile involving an avoidant response to novel situations, may be an intermediate phenotype in the development of anxiety disorders. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is a key mediator of the stress response through its effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and limbic brain systems. Transgenic mice overexpressing CRH exhibit BI-like behaviors, implicating this gene in the development of the phenotype. We genotyped a marker tightly linked to the CRH locus in 85 families of children who underwent laboratory-based behavioral assessments of BI and performed family-based association analyses. We observed an association between an allele of the CRH-linked locus and BI (p =.015). Among offspring of parents with panic disorder, this association was particularly marked (p =.0009). We further demonstrate linkage disequilibrium between this marker and single nucleotide polymorphisms encompassing the CRH gene. These results are consistent with the possibility that variants in the CRH gene are associated with anxiety proneness.
    Biological Psychiatry 01/2004; 54(12):1376-81. · 9.25 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Measures of EEG spectral power, lateral asymmetry in the frontal and parietal areas, and social behavior with an examiner were analyzed on 166 children, 10 to 12 years old, who were participating in a longitudinal study of the temperamental contributions to social behavior. Loss of 8- to 13-Hz power (alpha band) on the right, compared with the left, frontal area (right frontal active) was most prevalent among children who were classified as high reactive at 4 months and were highly fearful at 14 and 21 months. Second, greater frontal power in the 14- to 30-Hz band (beta) at rest was correlated with the tendency to be right frontal active. Finally, spontaneous talkativeness with an unfamiliar examiner was associated with right frontal activation and high alpha power for boys, but with right frontal activation and high beta power for girls. Right frontal activation is most characteristic of children who begin life with a temperamental bias favoring high reactivity and who develop a fearful reaction to unfamiliar events in the second year of life.
    Developmental Psychobiology 10/2002; 41(2):169-77. · 2.60 Impact Factor
  • International Conference in Infant Studies, Toronto, Canada; 03/2002
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper tries to make three points. First, current constructs in personality and psychopathology are based on the restrictive evidence contained in self-reports. As a result, heterogeneous categories of individuals are assigned to the same category. Second, it is suggested that when different sources of evidence are included, theoretically distinct groups will be detected within the prior heterogeneous category. Third, the authors argue that physiological information has the potential to parse individuals with similar phenotypes on self-report data into distinct groups that reveal the temperamental origins of their phenotype.
    Development and Psychopathology 02/2002; 14(3):463-75. · 4.40 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The discovery of pharmacologic interventions that mute the intensity of anxiety and guilt in some individuals has been a benevolent gift to those who suffer from these disabling states. Although some commentators have wondered about the social consequences of large numbers of asymptomatic persons taking these drugs, few have questioned the advantages for the smaller group of anguished patients. It is likely, however, that, during the next century, scientists will discover a drug that eliminates the feeling components of guilt and remorse while leaving intact the semantic knowledge that certain acts are ethically improper. An individual who took this drug regularly would continue to know that deceiving a friend, lying to a client, and stealing from an employer are morally wrong but would be protected from the uncomfortable feeling of guilt or remorse that accompanies a violation of a personal moral standard. It is reasonable to wonder, therefore, whether our society would be changed in a major way if many citizens were protected from guilt and remorse. Most Western philosophers, especially Kant, made reason the bedrock of conscience. People acted properly, Kant believed, because they knew that the behavior was morally right. All individuals wish to regard the self as virtuous and try to avoid the uncertainty that follows detection of the inconsistency that is created when they behave in ways that are not in accord with their view of the self's desirable attributes. Kant believed that, although the moral emotions restrain asocial acts, they were not necessary for the conduct of a moral life. On the other hand, some philosophers, such as Peirce and Dewey, argued that anticipation of anxiety, shame, and guilt motivate a continued loyalty to one's ethical standards. A person who was certain that he or she was protected from these uncomfortable emotions would find it easier to ignore the moral imperatives acquired during childhood and adolescence. It is not obvious that a drug that blocks remorse also will eliminate the mutual social obligations that make a society habitable; nonetheless, a posture of vigilance that is appropriate for--unlike gorillas--humans can hold representations of envy, anger, and dislike toward people they have never met for a very long time. While we wait for future inquiry to resolve this issue, it is useful to acknowledge that a satisfying analysis of this problem will require a deeper appreciation of the differences between the representations of the biological events that are the foundation of an emotion and the representations that define the semantic networks for the concepts good and bad.
    Psychiatric Clinics of North America 01/2002; 24(4):677-88. · 2.13 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The authors sought to examine psychopathological correlates of behavioral inhibition in young offspring of parents with panic disorder and/or major depression. Behavioral inhibition, determined by using standard laboratory observations, was assessed in four groups of children (age 2-6 years): 129 children of parents with both panic disorder and major depression, 22 children of parents with panic disorder alone, 49 children of parents with major depression alone, and 84 comparison children of parents with neither panic disorder nor major depression. Psychopathology in children > or =5 years was compared between children with behavioral inhibition (N=64) and without (N=152). Social anxiety disorder (social phobia or avoidant disorder) was significantly more likely to be found in the children with behavioral inhibition (17%) than in those without (5%). Noninhibited children were significantly more likely than inhibited children to have disruptive behavior disorders (20% versus 6%, respectively) and had higher scores on the attention problems scale of the Child Behavior Checklist (mean=52.1 versus 50.8). This study adds to the growing literature suggesting an association between behavioral inhibition and social anxiety disorder and an inverse relationship between inhibition and disruptive behavior disorders.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 10/2001; 158(10):1673-9. · 14.72 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Brainstem auditory evoked responses (BAERs) were evaluated on 10-12-year-old children (N = 56) who had been classified as high or low reactive to unfamiliar stimuli at 4 months of age. BAER measurement was selected because high reactive infants tend to become inhibited or fearful young children, and adult introverts have a faster latency to wave V of the BAER than do extroverts. Children previously classified as high reactive at 4 months had larger wave V components than did low reactive children, a finding that possibly suggests greater excitability in projections to the inferior colliculus. The fact that a fundamental feature of brainstem activity differentiated preadolescent children belonging to two early temperamental groups supports the value of gathering physiological data in temperament research.
    Developmental Psychology 08/2001; 37(4):533-8. · 3.21 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Genes influence the development of anxiety disorders, but the specific loci involved are not known. Genetic association studies of anxiety disorders are complicated by the complexity of the phenotypes and the difficulty in identifying appropriate candidate loci. We have begun to examine the genetics of behavioral inhibition to the unfamiliar (BI), a heritable temperamental predisposition that is a developmental and familial risk factor for panic and phobic disorders. Specific loci associated with homologous phenotypes in mouse models provide compelling candidate genes for human BI. We conducted family-based association analyses of BI using four genes derived from genetic studies of mouse models with features of behavioral inhibition. The sample included families of 72 children classified as inhibited by structured behavioral assessments. We observed modest evidence of association (P = 0.05) between BI and the glutamic acid decarboxylase gene (65 kDA isoform), which encodes an enzyme involved in GABA synthesis. No significant evidence of association was observed for the genes encoding the adenosine A(1A) receptor, the adenosine A(2A) receptor, or preproenkephalin. This study illustrates the potential utility of using candidate genes derived from mouse models to dissect the genetic basis of BI, a possible intermediate phenotype for panic and phobic disorders.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics 05/2001; 105(3):226-35.

Publication Stats

4k Citations
291.53 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • University of Massachusetts Boston
      • Department of Psychology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1988–2012
    • Harvard University
      • Department of Psychology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011
    • Boston Children's Hospital
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1999
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 1988–1992
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Boston, MA, United States