Infant Development and Developmental Risk: A Review of the Past 10 Years

Division of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans 70112-2822, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.26). 03/1997; 36(2):165-78. DOI: 10.1097/00004583-199702000-00007
Source: PubMed


To review critically the research on infant developmental risk published in the past 10 years.
A brief framework on development in the first 3 years is provided. This is followed by a review of pertinent studies of developmental risk, chosen to illustrate major risk conditions and the protective factors known to affect infant development. Illustrative risk conditions include prematurity and serious medical illness and infant temperament, infant-caregiver attachment, parental psychopathology, marital quality and interactions, poverty and social class, adolescent parenthood, and family violence.
Risk and protective factors interact complexly. There are few examples of specific or linear links between risk conditions and outcomes during or beyond the first 3 years of life. Infant development is best appreciated within the context of caregiving relationships, which mediate the effects of both intrinsic and extrinsic risk conditions.
Complex and evolving interrelationships among risk factors are beginning to be elucidated. Linear models of cause and effect are of little use in understanding the development of psychopathology. Refining our markers of risk and demonstrating effective preventive interventions are the next important challenges.

Download full-text


Available from: Charles H Zeanah
    • "Dishion, Forgatch, Van Ryzin, & Winter, 2012). Our findings indicate that mothers and infants at 12 weeks post-partum vary in their level of flexibility and entropy, and flexibility within the dyad supports a range of developmental competencies and functions in early infant social–emotional development (Bremner & Wachs, 2010; Zeanah, Boris, & Larrieu, 1997). However, when dyadic flexibility facilitates shifts to wider ranges of affective state and levels of engagement, flexibility can also lead to more entropy in dyadic interaction, which may challenge co-regulatory processes and synchrony (Feldman, 2007a). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Dynamic systems methods offer invaluable insight into the nuances of the early parent–child relationship. This prospective study aimed to highlight the characteristics of mother–infant dyadic behavior at 12 weeks post-partum using state space grid analysis (total n = 322). We also examined whether maternal prenatal depressive symptoms and perceived stress were associated with reduced non-negative engagement in exchange for more negativity and unengagement, and contrasted them with global observational methods. Non-negative engagement (NNE) was an attractor for dyads during a teaching task, with a range of flexibility and entropy across dyads. Further, dyads with mothers reporting higher prenatal depressive symptoms demonstrated less 12-week NNE dyadic behavior and more dyadic negativity. Prenatal maternal perceived stress was associated with reduced negativity and reduced flexibility in NNE states. However, maternal distress of any kind was not associated with entropy of behavior. Finally, direct comparisons with global perspectives of dyadic behavior indicated strong external validity relating to concepts of dyadic affect and engagement, and dynamic approaches remained uniquely related to prenatal distress above and beyond global observations of behavior. Findings lend support to the utility and necessity of dynamic systems approaches for identifying mechanisms of prenatal risk and emerging parent–child social–emotional functioning. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Infant and Child Development
  • Source
    • "The diet-related variations observed in this investigation are occurring in concert with significant changes in neurobehavioral development taking place across the 2 year study period. For example, the last 6 months of infancy sees the emergence of behaviors that form the basis for social relationships and behavioral regulation, such as the onset of the selective attachment to primary caregivers and guardedness to strangers (Emde, 1984; Zeanah et al., 1997; Evans and Porter, 2009). Furthermore, by the end of infancy prefrontal brain regions involved in cardiovagal regulation (Wong et al., 2007) and attachment behaviors (Shore, 2000) show higher activation when infants view images of their own-mothers smiling compared with strangers smiling (Mingawa-Kawai et al., 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Postnatal nutrition influences neurodevelopment, but it is not known whether the development of individual differences in physiologic measures is related to variations in early postnatal diet. To address this issue we studied the stability of vagal tone (V)-an index of individual differences in parasympathetic heart rate control-by measuring resting V quarterly during infancy and again at 2 years in 146 breast-fed (BF), 143 milk formula-fed (MF), and 137 soy formula-fed (SF) infants. Stability of V across infancy was more consistently significant for BF than formula-fed infants. Stability was similar for boys and girls in BF and SF groups but was generally higher in boys than girls in the MF group. Significant stability between infancy and 2 years emerged later in SF than other groups and later in boys than girls. Stability generally peaked between 6 and 9 months - a time when postnatal vagal myelination slows and which may represent a pivotal stage in the development of V stability. These findings indicate that infant diet and gender are important modulators of the early development of autonomic state control. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
  • Source
    • "Empirical evidence and theoretical discussions on the impact of risk and protective factors on a number of developmental outcomes have noted that multiple risk conditions often co-occur (Pungello, Kupersmidt, Burchinal, & Patterson, 1996; Rutter, 1987; Sameroff, Seifer, Baldwin, & Baldwin, 1993; Seifer, 1995; Zeanah, Boris, & Larrieu, 1997). Given this situation, researchers have argued that the total number of environmental risk factors may be more predictive of child outcomes than exposure to any specific risk condition (Seifer, 1995; Zeanah et al., 1997). There is a great deal of heterogeneity in the caregiving situations of cocaine-exposed children (Brown et al., 2004; Eiden et al., 2007). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study examined the association between prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) and developmental trajectories of externalizing behavior problems from 18 to 54 months of child age. A hypothesized indirect association between PCE and externalizing trajectories via maternal negative affect was also examined. Caregiving environmental risk and child sex were evaluated as moderators. This study consisted of 196 mother-child dyads recruited at delivery from local area hospitals (107 PCE, 89 non-PCE) and assessed at seven time points across the toddler to preschool periods. Results revealed no direct associations between PCE and externalizing behavior problem trajectories. However, results did indicate that PCE shared a significant indirect relationship with externalizing behavior problem trajectories via higher levels of maternal negative affect. The association between PCE and externalizing problem trajectories was also moderated by caregiving environmental risk such that PCE children in high-risk caregiving environments did not experience the well-documented normative decline in externalizing behavior problems beginning at around 3 years of age. This study suggests potential pathways to externalizing behavior problems among high-risk children.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Development and Psychopathology
Show more