Leslie Richard Atkinson

Leslie Richard Atkinson
Ryerson University · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

235
Publications
71,411
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
7,001
Citations

Publications

Publications (235)
Article
Full-text available
Tracking parents’ mental health symptoms and understanding barriers to seeking professional help are critical for determining policies and services to support families’ well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed enormous challenges to parents’ mental health and the access to professional help, and there are important public health lessons that mus...
Article
Negative emotionality (NE) was evaluated as a candidate mechanism linking prenatal maternal affective symptoms and offspring internalizing problems during the preschool/early school age period. The participants were 335 mother-infant dyads from the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment project. A Confirmatory Bifactor Analysis (CFA...
Article
Full-text available
Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is associated with oxytocin dysregulation in women, such as decreased peripheral oxytocin concentrations, but little is known about vulnerability markers for oxytocin dysregulation in mothers exposed to ACEs. Identifying vulnerability markers may help inform future targets for prevention and interven...
Article
Full-text available
Maternal exposure to childhood maltreatment (CM) is associated with offspring behavioral problems, however, little work has examined these associations longitudinally across child development. This study examined the effects of maternal history of CM on trajectories of child internalizing and externalizing behavior measured from toddlerhood to pres...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in elevated mental health problems for pregnant women. Effective coping strategies likely reduce the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. This study aimed to (1) understand how COVID-19 stressors are related to different coping strategies and (2) identify whether coping strategies act as mechanisms accounting for...
Article
Full-text available
Background Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with multimorbidity in adulthood. This link may be mediated by psychosocial and biological factors, but evidence is lacking. The current study evaluates this mediation model. Method We analyzed data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (N = 27 170 community participants). Parti...
Article
Full-text available
Background Executive functions can be adversely affected by contextual risks in the home environment including chaos and parenting challenges. Furthermore, household chaos negatively influences parenting practices. Few studies, however, have examined the role of parenting in the association between household chaos and child executive functions. Me...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Children's academic readiness has important implications for subsequent achievement and psychosocial functioning. A growing number of studies are utilizing randomized controlled trials (RCT) to examine whether responsive parenting interventions lead to positive gains in children's academic readiness. A synthesis of the extant literatur...
Article
Full-text available
Background : Few studies have explored the complex gene-by-prenatal environment-by-early postnatal environment interactions that underlie the development of attentional competence. Here, we examined if variation in dopamine-related genes interacts with prenatal adversity to influence toddler attentional competence and whether this influence is buff...
Article
Background : Pregnancy is a period of elevated risk for mental health difficulties, which are likely exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to understand the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and identify risk and protective factors during pregnancy. Methods : Participants were 303 pregnant individuals from Ontario, Canada. Depres...
Article
Background Maternal adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with difficulties in parent-child relationships; however, current research has primarily used cross-sectional designs. Parent and child behavior may be differentially affected by ACEs as children develop and caregiving demands change. Furthermore, diminished executive function...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose of Review To consider various precision medicine approaches to further elucidate the relationship between inflammation and depression and to illustrate how a neurodevelopmental perspective can help in this regard. Recent Findings Inflammation associates most strongly with phenotypes of depression that reflect illness behavior and/or metabo...
Article
Household chaos-characterized by disorganization and instability within the home-is inversely associated with child executive functioning and effortful control, although a quantitative synthesis of the findings is currently lacking. This meta-analysis incorporated 35 studies with 36 independent effect sizes including 16,480 children. Several modera...
Article
Objectives: Maternal-foetal tryptophan metabolism plays multiple roles in neurodevelopment and immunomodulation across pregnancy. Tryptophan and the immune system are both influenced by the seasons of the year. We thus compared tryptophan and kynurenine levels in subgroups of pregnant women defined by maternal seasonality and season-of-conception (...
Article
Technology-assisted interventions have been identified as a means to increase accessibility and enhance engagement of parenting programs. The current meta-analytic review examines the effectiveness of these interventions in families experiencing social disadvantage. A literature search was conducted spanning March 2007–June 2019. Nine studies met i...
Article
Child depression has been inconsistency linked to cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) reactivity. This study assessed three factors that contribute to inconsistencies: 1) the differential effectiveness of laboratory challenges to elicit cortisol and sAA; 2) the impact of cortisol-sAA coordination; and 3) variation in parent versus child ratin...
Article
Full-text available
Parental care has a strong impact on neurodevelopment and mental health in the offspring. While a multitude of animal studies has revealed that the parental brain is a highly complex system involving many brain structures and neuroendocrine systems, human maternal parenting as a multi‐dimensional construct with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral...
Article
We examined maternal depression and maternal sensitivity as mediators of the association between maternal childhood adversity and her child's temperament in 239 mother–child dyads from a longitudinal, birth cohort study. We used an integrated measure of maternal childhood adversity that included the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and the Parental B...
Article
The Intention Attribution Test for Children (IAC) was created to assess hostile attribution bias in preschool- and early school-aged children. It comprises 16 cartoon strips presenting situations in which one character (either a child or an adult) causes harm to another, either intentionally, accidentally (non-intentional), or without his/her inten...
Data
Supplemental Materials related to the article Vanwalleghem, S., Miljkovitch, R., Counsell, A., Atkinson, L., & Vinter, A. (in press). Validation of the intention attribution test for children (IAC). Assessment.
Article
This study explores the conceptualization of mother–infant cortisol attunement both theoretically and empirically, and its association with mother–infant attachment disorganization. In a community sample ( N = 256), disorganization and cortisol were assessed during the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) at infant age 17 months. Salivary cortisol was...
Article
This study examined infant cortisol secretion as a moderator of the association between mother–infant attachment security at age 17 months and child behavior at age 5 years. A longitudinal community sample of 96 mother–child dyads participated in the strange situation procedure (SSP) at age 17 months. Cortisol was collected at baseline, and at 20 a...
Article
This study examined potential pathways in the associations between breastfeeding and mothers’ relationship satisfaction, including her satisfaction with father involvement (FI) and parity, among mothers not working outside the home at 6 months. Mothers (n = 222) completed questionnaires at 4 time-points, 3 to 24 months postpartum as part of a longi...
Article
In reviewing the preceding articles, I emphasize the predominance of relational theories in the study of development as a way of demonstrating the evolutionary and relational extremity of reactive attachment disorder (RAD). The lack (or distortion?) of mutuality, RAD’s defining feature, has implications for all aspects of development, not least of...
Poster
Introduction: Sleepwalking (SW) is a parasomnia involving unusual and complex behaviors initiated during sleep, such as walking, sitting or eating. It has been proposed that sleeptalking (ST) shares similar underlying mechanism with SW. A few studies found associations between these parasomnias and: separation anxiety, hyperactivity-inattention sym...
Article
Sleep rhythmic movements have been speculated to be a form of self‐soothing. While this sleep‐related movement has been associated with lower socioeconomic status, psychopathologies and maternal characteristics, prospective studies with sizeable sample and objective measurements are lacking. The objectives were: (a) to identify maternal characteris...
Conference Paper
Introduction Sleepwalking (SW) is a parasomnia involving unusual and complex behaviors initiated during sleep, such as walking, sitting or eating. It has been proposed that sleeptalking (ST) shares similar underlying mechanism with SW. A few studies found associations between these parasomnias and: separation anxiety, hyperactivity-inattention symp...
Article
This study examined maternal oxytocin receptor (OXTR, rs53576) genotype and cortisol secretion as moderators of the relation between maternal childhood maltreatment history and disorganized mother-infant attachment in the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP). A community sample of 314 mother-infant dyads completed the SSP at infant age 17 months. Self...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Adverse early experiences are associated with long-lasting disruptions in physiology, development and health. These experiences may be ‘biologically embedded’ into molecular and genomic systems that determine later expressions of vulnerability. Most studies to date have not examined whether preventive interventions can potentially reve...
Article
Child abuse and neglect can lead to difficulties regulating responses to threatening and emotional situations. Exposure to childhood maltreatment has been linked to conflicting findings of both attention biases toward and away from threat-related information. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether emotion regulation moderated the a...
Article
This study examined maternal depressive symptoms, social support, parenting, and adult attachment as mediators explaining the relation between maternal childhood maltreatment and child behavior in offspring. We assessed a community sample of 96 mother–child dyads. At child age 16 months, mothers self-reported maltreatment history, adult attachment,...
Article
Background: We have shown that intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) leads to increased preference for palatable foods at different ages in both humans and rodents. In IUGR rodents, altered striatal dopamine signaling associates with a preference for palatable foods. Objectives: Our aim was to investigate if a multilocus genetic score reflectin...
Article
A mother's cortisol secretion is importantly associated with her own mental health and her infant's cortisol secretion. This study investigated the influences of maternal history of care and maternal DRD2, SLC6A3, and OXTR genotypes on maternal cortisol in the context of infant stress. A community sample of 296 mother-infant dyads completed a mater...
Article
Full-text available
Although infants less than 18 months old are capable of engaging in self-regulatory behavior (e.g., avoidance, withdrawal, and orienting to other aspects of their environment), the use of self-regulatory strategies at this age (as opposed to relying on caregivers) is associated with elevated behavioral and physiological distress. This study investi...
Poster
Introduction: Sleep rhythmic movements (SRM) are stereotyped behaviors (mainly head-banging, body rocking and head-rolling) occurring during sleep or in the transition between wake and sleep. This parasomnia occurs primarily in childhood and its etiology remains unknown. It has been described as self-soothing mechanism, but evidences remain sparse....
Article
Full-text available
Although randomized interventions trials have been shown to reduce the incidence of disorganized attachment, no studies to date have identified the mechanisms of change responsible for such reductions. Maternal sensitivity has been assessed in various studies and shown to change with intervention, but in the only study to formally assess mediation,...
Conference Paper
Introduction Sleep rhythmic movements (SRM) are stereotyped behaviors (mainly head-banging, body rocking and head-rolling) occurring during sleep or in the transition between wake and sleep. This parasomnia occurs primarily in childhood and its etiology remains unknown. It has been described as self-soothing mechanism, but evidences remain sparse....
Poster
Sleep rhythmic movements(SRM) are mainly head-banging, body rocking and head-rolling behaviors occurring during sleep or in the transition between wake and sleep. This parasomnia occurs primarily in childhood and its etiology remains unknown. It has been proposed to be a form of self-soothing mechanism, but evidences remain sparse. Associations hav...
Article
Backround There is considerable variation in the prevalence of breastfeeding, which allows for investigation of factors that influence the initiation and duration of breastfeeding and its association with well being of the mother infant dyad. Aims To better understand factors that influence (1) maternal breastfeeding status and (2) the “effects” o...
Article
Introduction Maternal mental well being influences offspring development. Research suggests that an interplay between genetic and environmental factors underlies this familial transmission of mental disorders. Objectives To explore an interaction between genetic and environmental factors to predict trajectories of maternal mental well being, and t...
Article
Objective: An attachment model was used to understand how maternal sensitivity and adverse childhood experiences are related to somatization. Methods: We examined maternal sensitivity at 6 and 18 months and somatization at 5 years in 292 children in a longitudinal cohort study. We next examined attachment insecurity and somatization (health anxi...
Article
The cognitive development of children of adolescent mothers has often been considered to be at risk. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to examine whether early intervention could help foster more positive cognitive development in the 0- to 4-year-old children of adolescent mothers. Twenty-two studies were reviewed, involving 29 different interve...
Article
Background: Recent evidence suggests that early exposure to low maternal sensitivity is a risk factor for obesity in children and adolescents. A separate line of study shows that the seven-repeat (7R) allele of the dopamine-4 receptor gene (DRD4) increases susceptibility to environmental factors including maternal sensitivity. The current study in...
Article
Full-text available
Animal and human studies suggest that initial expression of maternal behaviour depends on oxytocin and dopamine systems. However, the mechanism by which these systems affect parenting behaviours and the timing of these effects are not well understood. The present paper explores the role of mothers' executive function in mediating the relation betwe...
Article
Prenatal maternal depression and a multilocus genetic profile of two susceptibility genes implicated in the stress response were examined in an interaction model predicting negative emotionality in the first 3 years. In 179 mother–infant dyads from the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability, and Neurodevelopment cohort, prenatal depression (Center for E...
Article
The trajectory of stress physiology is set early in life, affects most physical and psychological processes across the lifespan, and traverses generations via epigenetic and psychosocial means (1, 2). For these reasons, human stress physiology research has focused increasingly on early life (3). Despite the centrality of stress physiology to human...
Poster
Le manque de sommeil et les perturbations du sommeil peuvent engendrer des symptômes similaires à ceux du trouble déficitaire de l’attention (TDAH), même chez les enfants sans diagnostic (Sadeh, 2007). L’incidence des troubles de sommeil est d'ailleurs plus élevée chez les enfants ayant un TDAH et leurs symptômes deviennent plus importants s’ils so...
Article
Richerson et al. argue that "cultural group selection plays an essential role in explaining human cooperation." We believe that cooperation came first making culture and thus cultural group selection possible. Cooperation and culture began - and begins - in mother-infant interaction.
Article
Three basic findings have emerged from research on maternal depressive symptoms and offspring hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal functioning: (a) Mothers' depressive symptoms are positively associated with their offsprings' cortisol stress response, (b) numerous individual and interpersonal maternal characteristics moderate this association, and (c) ma...
Article
Importance Genes may work by modulating the way individuals respond to environmental variation, and these discrete and differential genes vs environmental interactions may not be readily captured in simple association studies.Objective To determine whether children carrying the 7-repeat allele of the DRD4 gene living under adverse economic condit...
Article
Full-text available
Research on aptitude-treatment interactions, or patient characteristics that are associated with better outcome in one treatment than another, can help assign patients to the treatments that will be most personally effective. Theory and one past study suggest that adult attachment style might influence whether depressed patients respond better to c...
Article
Although the quality of the attachment relationship is often cited as an important determinant of development, the extent of impact of this environmental influence in shaping behavioral outcomes has been a matter of considerable debate. This may, in part, be because of the variability in methodologies used for assessing attachment across infancy, c...
Article
Full-text available
Disorganized attachment is an important early risk factor for socioemotional problems throughout childhood and into adulthood. Prevailing models of the etiology of disorganized attachment emphasize the role of highly dysfunctional parenting, to the exclusion of complex models examining the interplay of child and parental factors. Decades of researc...
Article
Preterm children have been reported to be at higher risk to develop attachment insecurity. The present study aimed to investigate potential differences in attachment security between newborns who were sent to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and those who were not, in a population of full-term children. Participants (162 mother-child dyads) were...
Poster
Introduction: Poorer maternal mental health was often shown in association with infant's sleep disturbances. However, little is known about the link between maternal mental health and parasomnias in children. The present study aimed to investigate the potential association between the presence of parasomnias in children and maternal depression or a...
Article
Full-text available
Cumulative risk (CR) models provide some of the most robust findings in the developmental literature, predicting numerous and varied outcomes. Typically, however, these outcomes are predicted one at a time, across different samples, using concurrent designs, longitudinal designs of short duration, or retrospective designs. We predicted that a singl...