Findings on intergenerational transmission of effects of women’s stressors during pregnancy published in Frontiers in Psychiatry

April 25, 2022

Frontiers in Psychiatry published a new ECHO PATHWAYS analysis that examined the association between multiple types of stress that women might experience during pregnancy and later mental health problems in their offspring and explored factors that might protect children from mental health challenges even if their mothers are exposed to various stressors during pregnancy. Study participants were 1,034 mothers and their offspring who were enrolled in the CANDLE study from the greater Memphis, TN, area. The study found that mothers who experienced more types of stressors during pregnancy had children who were more likely to experience mental health problems at ages 4-6. Importantly, however, mothers who had the resources and supports to be able to provide optimal parenting support to their children buffered their children from these mental health problems. The findings highlight the importance of supporting and empowering women and expecting mothers to prevent various stressors – such as intimate partner violence – from occurring in the first place. The first author was ECHO PATHWAYS co-investigator Dr. Shaikh Ahmad was first author and mPI Dr. Nicole Bush was last author.