Nancy Snidman

University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (67)327.47 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the predictive relations between two infant temperamental biases assessed at 4 months and inhibited behavior during the first 2 years of life in three independent samples from two research laboratories. Although each sample used slightly different criteria for classifying infants, the results across samples were consistent. Infants of both genders who displayed high levels of motor activity and distress to unfamiliar events were more inhibited at 14 months of age. By 24 months, there were significant sex differences: Boys identified as high reactive were more inhibited than high reactive girls.
    Infancy 10/2014; 20(1). DOI:10.1111/infa.12063 · 1.73 Impact Factor
  • J. Kevin Nugent · Nancy Snidman · J. Kagan
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this prospective study was to examine the relationship between newborn state-regulation and infant reactivity at four months of age. Previous research has suggested that behaviors at four months of age relate to behavioral profiles in the second year of life as well as to twelve and fifteen years of age (Kagan and Snidman, 1991, 2004; Kagan et al. 2007). The present study was designed to extend these findings to the newborn period. Seventy-two Caucasian healthy full-term newborns were observed and evaluated with a measure of Crying and Consolability derived from the revised Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS-R) between 24-72 hours after birth. Each infant was classified as High or Low Cry, based on the number of crying episodes and as Easy or Difficult to Console, based on the capacity of the infant to be consoled. At four months, fifty-eight of the newborns (30 males) returned to the laboratory for a behavioral temperament assessment. Three temperament categories were derived from the assessment: High Reactive (high cry-high motor), Low Reactive (low cry-low motor) and Other (high cry-low motor and low cry-high motor). Results showed that 78% of the infants classified as High Reactive at four months had been classified as High Cry in the newborn period, while only 38% of the other two groups were coded as High Cry in the newborn period (p<.03). In addition, 67% of infants classified as High Reactive at four months were classified as Difficult to Console in the newborn period, compared to 21% in the low-reactive and other categories (p<.01). In sum, these results demonstrate a relationship between behavioral profiles observed during the newborn period and temperamental categories at four months of age based on observed behaviors
    World Association for Infant Mental Health World Congress, Edinburgh, Scotland; 06/2014
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    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; 35(4). DOI:10.1007/s10862-013-9362-5 · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • Cindy H. Liu · Yang Yang · Shixin Fang · Nancy Snidman · Ed Tronick
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of culture on maternal socioemotional behaviors (affect and vocalization) following a socially stressful situation between mothers and infants. Participants included 47 Chinese American and 54 European American mothers who took part in the double Face-to-Face Still-Face paradigm with their 16-week-old infants. Overall, the pattern of results suggests that cultural and acculturative differences are enhanced in situations that are socially stressful as emotion displays may be more salient under these conditions. Furthermore, patterns of maternal behaviors may not be consistent in the direction expected from a unidimensional conceptualization of acculturation.
    Research in Human Development 10/2013; 10(4):289-307. DOI:10.1080/15427609.2013.846042 · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    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.
    Irish Journal of Psychology 11/2012; 12(2):248-262. DOI:10.1080/03033910.1991.10557841
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    C E Schwartz · P S Kunwar · D N Greve · J Kagan · N C Snidman · R B Bloch
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    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. DOI:10.1038/mp.2011.96 · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    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. DOI:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.171 · 13.75 Impact Factor
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    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. DOI:10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181b48102 · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • CE Schwartz · DN Greve · PS Kunwar · LR Moran · J Kagan · NC Snidman · SR Wallace
    NeuroImage 07/2009; 47. DOI:10.1016/S1053-8119(09)72040-3 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    Jerome Kagan · Nancy Snidman · Doreen Arcus
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    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. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1998.tb06171.x · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Autistics show a diminished ability to integrate complex information. This may relate to altered functional connectivity. EEG coherence measures electrocortical synchrony of oscillatory brain rhythms across neural networks, which is hypothesized as a mechanism for functional connectivity, binding of neural activity and integration of cognitive processes. Objectives: We sought to test the hypothesis that there would be greater coherence differences between autistic children and controls in a complex visual input condition when compared to the differences seen in a simple or minimal visual input condition. Methods: Resting EEG was obtained, using a 128 electrode net, for 3 conditions presented for 5 minutes each: 1) complex visual stimulus: a movie, 2) simple visual stimulus: flashes of light in a visual evoked potential (VEP) paradigm, and 3) no visual stimulus: eyes closed/lights out (EC/LO) in 5 children (4.4-9.8yrs): 2 autistic, 2 autistic spectrum (ASD) and 1 typically developing control. Coherence was computed between all channel pairs for each frequency band. Power and coherence were then averaged for each condition. Results: Autistics showed broadly increased low frequency (delta/theta) coherence in the movie condition compared to control. Coherence differences for VEP and EC/LO were far less significant. ASD children showed the same effect but to a lesser degree. Interhemispheric higher frequency (alpha) coherence was somewhat decreased in the movie condition when compared to VEP and EC/LO condition in preliminary data. Conclusions: Our data suggest that autistic children show coherence abnormalities that are not static but dynamic and produced by exposure to complex visual stimuli in motion. This abnormality appears to be proportionate to the severity of the autism. Whether motion or complexity is the critical factor in producing these coherence differences remains to be determined. These data suggest that processing of complex visual images in motion alters functional connectivity in autism.
    International Meeting for Autism Research 2008; 05/2008
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    Jerome Kagan · Nancy Snidman · Vali Kahn · Sara Towsley
    Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 02/2007; 72(2):1-75, vii; discussion 76-91. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-5834.2007.00436.x · 5.50 Impact Factor
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    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. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.163.6.1084 · 13.56 Impact Factor
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    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 03/2006; 27(2):174-82. DOI:10.1097/01.BCR.0000202618.51001.69 · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    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. DOI:10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.02.018 · 10.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of maternal antenatal and postnatal anxiety and depression on infant negative behavioral reactivity were examined in a sample of 22 mother-infant pairs. Maternal anxiety and depression were assessed by standardized measures during the third trimester of pregnancy and postpartum. Infant negative behavioral responses to novelty were assessed using a previously validated measure at 4 months of age. Maternal anxiety and depression during the prenatal, but not the postnatal period, were related to infant negative behavioral reactivity to novelty. These data illustrate that prenatal maternal psychological state can exert persisting influences on human infant behavior.
    Infancy 11/2004; 6(3). DOI:10.1207/s15327078in0603_1 · 1.73 Impact Factor
  • Jerome Kagan · Nancy C Snidman
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    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. DOI:10.1016/S0006-3223(03)00598-5 · 10.25 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation 03/2003; 24:S160. DOI:10.1097/00004630-200303002-00236 · 2.42 Impact Factor
  • Mark H McManis · Jerome Kagan · Nancy C Snidman · Sue A Woodward
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    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 09/2002; 41(2):169-77. DOI:10.1002/dev.10053 · 3.16 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

6k Citations
327.47 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013–2014
    • 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
  • 1988–2010
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1999
    • Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1991
    • Yale University
      • Department of Psychology
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States