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Social buffering of the maternal and infant HPA axes: Mediation and moderation in the intergenerational transmission of adverse childhood experiences.
Dev Psychopathol. 2018 08; 30(3):921-939.DP

Abstract

Supportive social relationships can reduce both psychological and physiological responses to stressful experiences. Recently, studies have also assessed the potential for social relationships to buffer the intergenerational transmission of stress. The majority of these studies, however, have focussed on social learning as a mechanism responsible for the intergenerational transmission of stress. Evidence of biological mechanisms is lacking. The objective of the current study was, therefore, to determine whether the association between maternal adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and infant hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function is mediated by maternal HPA axis function during pregnancy and moderated by social support. Data were from 243 mother-infant dyads enrolled in a prospective longitudinal cohort (the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition Study). Maternal history of ACEs was retrospectively assessed while maternal perceived social support and salivary cortisol were assessed prospectively at 6-22 weeks gestation (Time 1) and 27-37 weeks gestation (Time 2), and infant cortisol reactivity to a laboratory stressor and maternal perceived social support were assessed at 5-10 months postnatal (Time 3). Results revealed that maternal HPA axis function during pregnancy mediated the effects of maternal ACEs on infant HPA axis reactivity, suggesting that the maternal HPA axis is a mechanism by which maternal early life stress is transmitted to offspring. Furthermore, social support in the prenatal and postnatal periods moderated the cascade from maternal ACEs to infant HPA axis reactivity. Specifically, prenatal social support moderated the association between ACEs and maternal HPA axis function during pregnancy, and postnatal social support moderated the association between maternal HPA axis function and infant cortisol reactivity. These findings highlight the social sensitivity of the HPA axis and suggest the utility of social relationships as an intervention target to reduce the effects of maternal early life stress on infant outcomes.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of Calgary.University of Calgary.University of Calgary.University of Calgary.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

30068422

Citation

Thomas, Jenna C., et al. "Social Buffering of the Maternal and Infant HPA Axes: Mediation and Moderation in the Intergenerational Transmission of Adverse Childhood Experiences." Development and Psychopathology, vol. 30, no. 3, 2018, pp. 921-939.
Thomas JC, Letourneau N, Campbell TS, et al. Social buffering of the maternal and infant HPA axes: Mediation and moderation in the intergenerational transmission of adverse childhood experiences. Dev Psychopathol. 2018;30(3):921-939.
Thomas, J. C., Letourneau, N., Campbell, T. S., & Giesbrecht, G. F. (2018). Social buffering of the maternal and infant HPA axes: Mediation and moderation in the intergenerational transmission of adverse childhood experiences. Development and Psychopathology, 30(3), 921-939. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579418000512
Thomas JC, et al. Social Buffering of the Maternal and Infant HPA Axes: Mediation and Moderation in the Intergenerational Transmission of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Dev Psychopathol. 2018;30(3):921-939. PubMed PMID: 30068422.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Social buffering of the maternal and infant HPA axes: Mediation and moderation in the intergenerational transmission of adverse childhood experiences. AU - Thomas,Jenna C, AU - Letourneau,Nicole, AU - Campbell,Tavis S, AU - Giesbrecht,Gerald F, AU - ,, PY - 2018/8/3/entrez PY - 2018/8/3/pubmed PY - 2018/11/1/medline SP - 921 EP - 939 JF - Development and psychopathology JO - Dev Psychopathol VL - 30 IS - 3 N2 - Supportive social relationships can reduce both psychological and physiological responses to stressful experiences. Recently, studies have also assessed the potential for social relationships to buffer the intergenerational transmission of stress. The majority of these studies, however, have focussed on social learning as a mechanism responsible for the intergenerational transmission of stress. Evidence of biological mechanisms is lacking. The objective of the current study was, therefore, to determine whether the association between maternal adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and infant hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function is mediated by maternal HPA axis function during pregnancy and moderated by social support. Data were from 243 mother-infant dyads enrolled in a prospective longitudinal cohort (the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition Study). Maternal history of ACEs was retrospectively assessed while maternal perceived social support and salivary cortisol were assessed prospectively at 6-22 weeks gestation (Time 1) and 27-37 weeks gestation (Time 2), and infant cortisol reactivity to a laboratory stressor and maternal perceived social support were assessed at 5-10 months postnatal (Time 3). Results revealed that maternal HPA axis function during pregnancy mediated the effects of maternal ACEs on infant HPA axis reactivity, suggesting that the maternal HPA axis is a mechanism by which maternal early life stress is transmitted to offspring. Furthermore, social support in the prenatal and postnatal periods moderated the cascade from maternal ACEs to infant HPA axis reactivity. Specifically, prenatal social support moderated the association between ACEs and maternal HPA axis function during pregnancy, and postnatal social support moderated the association between maternal HPA axis function and infant cortisol reactivity. These findings highlight the social sensitivity of the HPA axis and suggest the utility of social relationships as an intervention target to reduce the effects of maternal early life stress on infant outcomes. SN - 1469-2198 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/30068422/Social_buffering_of_the_maternal_and_infant_HPA_axes:_Mediation_and_moderation_in_the_intergenerational_transmission_of_adverse_childhood_experiences_ L2 - https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/S0954579418000512/type/journal_article DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -