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Title:Mothers’ neural response to valenced infant interactions predicts postnatal depression and anxiety
Author(s):Finnegan, Megan Kate
Advisor(s):Heller, Wendy; Laurent, Hiedemarie
Department / Program:Psychology
Discipline:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.S.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):mother
depression
anxiety
internalizing
fMRI
longitudinal
Abstract:It is currently unknown whether differences in neural responsiveness to infant cues observed in perinatal affective disturbance are specific to depression/anxiety or are better attributed to a common component of internalizing distress. It is also unknown whether differences in mothers’ brain response can be accounted for by effects of past episodes, or if current neural processing of her child may serve as a risk factor for development of future symptoms. Twenty-four mothers from a community-based sample participated in an fMRI session viewing their 3-month- old infant during tasks evoking positive or negative emotion. They were tracked across the ensuing 15 months to monitor changes in affective symptoms. Past and current episodes of depression and anxiety, as well as future symptoms, were used to predict differences in mothers’ hemodynamic response to their infant in positive compared to negative emotion contexts. Lower relative activation in largely overlapping brain regions involving frontal lobe structures to own infant positive vs. negative emotion was associated with concurrent (3-month) depression diagnosis and prospective (3-18 month) depression and anxiety symptoms. There was little evidence for impacts of past psychopathology (more limited effect of past anxiety and nonsignificant effect of past depression). Results suggest biased maternal processing of infant emotions during postpartum depression and anxiety is largely accounted for by a shared source of variance (internalizing distress). Furthermore, differential maternal responsiveness to her infant’s emotional cues is specifically associated with the perpetuation of postpartum symptoms, as opposed to more general phenotypic or scarring effects of past psychopathology.
Issue Date:2020-04-17
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/108252
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Megan Finnegan
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-27
Date Deposited:2020-05


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