DS04 - Vie, santé et bien-être

Early life parental stress and emotional problems and children's developmental trajectories – ELIPSES

Early life parental stress and emotional problems and children's developmental trajectories

The pathways through which parental emotional states in the pre- and postnatal periods influence long-term child development are still to be elucidated. Previous research has produced conflicting results concerning: the specific effects of exposure to maternal psychopathology in pregnancy/ and or its treatment; relevant biomarkers; the interplay between biological and psycho social mechanisms of action. Additionally, fathers’ role has rarely been studied.

Parental stress and depression: major risk factors of children's suboptimal development

The general objective of the ELIPSES project is to examine the mechanisms of risk and resilience that may explain associations between parental mental health and child emotional, behavioural and cognitive development in the first years of life. Additionally, we also aim to quantify the role of parental mental health in socioeconomic inequalities in children’s cognitive and psychological development.

ELIPSES relies on data collected in four longitudinal cohort studies of children followed since pregnancy (EDEN, ELFE, DNBC and QLSCD), which collected psychosocial as well as biological data on large community based samples of children and their parents.

Our initial results show that fathers, as well as mothers, are at risk of psychological difficulties during the post-partum period (ELFE). Moreover, parents' psychological difficulties contribute to children's developmental difficulties, particularly in terms of emotional well-being (QLSCD).Moreover, children's development is also influenced by maternal nutrition during pregnancy (EDEN) and the type of care arrangements after birth (children who attend collective daycare are less anxious and more empathic than those in other types of care arrangements).

Analyses aiming to explore the effects of maternal as well as paternal mental health with regard to children's long-term development, will continue. Moreover, biomarker analyses will be conducted to identify early stress markers that can be relevant from a young age onwards.

1. Côté, S. M., Ahun, M. N., Herba, C. M., Brendgen, M., Geoffroy, M.-C., Orri, M., Liu, X., Vitaro, F., Melchior, M., Boivin, M., & Tremblay, R. E. Why is Maternal Depression Related to Adolescent Internalizing Problems? A 15-Year Population-Based Study.

The biological, psychological and socio-demographic pathways through which parental emotional states in the pre- and postnatal periods influence long-term child development are still to be elucidated. Previous research in this area has produced conflicting results concerning: the specific effects of exposure to maternal psychopathology in pregnancy/ and or its treatment; relevant biomarkers for maternal and child mental health; the interplay between biological and psycho social mechanisms of action. Additionally, fathers’ role in this sensitive period of children’s development has rarely been studied. The general objective of the ELIPSES project is to examine the mechanisms of risk and resilience that may explain associations between parental mental health and child emotional, behavioural and cognitive development in the first years of life. Additionally, we also aim to quantify the role of parental mental health in socioeconomic inequalities in children’s cognitive and psychological development. ELIPSES will rely on data collected in four longitudinal cohort studies of children followed since pregnancy (EDEN in France and the Danish National Birth Cohort study in Denmark) or since birth (ELFE in France and the QLSCD in Québec), which collected psychosocial as well as biological data on large community based samples of children and their parents. In particular, parental psychopathology (specifically depression in mothers and fathers) was evaluated in detail and repeatedly, as well as children's emotional, behavioural and cognitive development. These data will mostly be studied separately in each cohort, the results being then confronted. Statistical models well-suited for epidemiological data of this type (group-based trajectories, propensity scores, cross-lagged panel models to study bidirectional relations between parental and offspring mental health, missing data imputation). Biomarkers of maternal stress and depression during pregnancy and of infant stress reactivité at birth (mainly cortisol, vasopressin, ACTH) will be identified in maternal blood samples (n=2,740), maternal hair samples (n=1,477) and cord blood (n=2,803). Overall, the results of the ELIPSES project will serve to gain better uderstanding of relations between parental and offspring mental health trajectories, as well as the underlying mecanisms and potential resilience factors that can be sollicited. Moreover, the results will make it possible to find biomarkers that can serve to identify women at risk of depression in pregnancy, which could help orient them towards health professionals. These results will be of interest to reseéarchers and clinicians in the field of psychiatry and mental health, but also public health decision makers, families, and the general population.

Project coordinator

Institut Pierre Louis d'Epidmiologie et Sante Publique/INSERM UMR 1136 (Laboratoire public)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

Bordeaux Population Health Research Centre
Institut Pierre Louis d'Epidmiologie et Sante Publique/INSERM UMR 1136

Help of the ANR 526,489 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 48 Months

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