Completed Projects

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ATTACH Project Pilot Studies: Phase 1 and 2

This study is a Community Based Public Health Care Initiative to promote the healthy development of children exposed to toxic stress transferred over by their parents/caregivers suffering from mental illness, addictions to substances of abuse, or domestic violence–are less able to respond sensitively and appropriately to meet the needs of their developing infants (read more).

Caregiver-child interactions that promote early literacy: A systematic review

The proposed systematic review will uncover the effective caregiver-child interactions (activities, behaviours, programs) that promote language development and literacy in young children. It will consolidate an ample body of literature and provide guidance for policies and professionals affecting young children’s literacy and language development. Moreover, in cases where discordant results or insufficient studies are found, this review will provide guidance for future research (read more).

Coping and Suicidal Ideations

To explore the relationship between coping mechanisms and suicidal ideations among women who experience symptoms of postpartum depression (read more).

Factors Affecting Postpartum Depressive Symptoms of Adolescent Mothers

Objective : To assess the extent that antici pated maternal emotions in response to infant care (infant care emotionality or frustration and dissatisfaction with infant crying or fussing, or both), several forms of social support, and socioeconomic status explain fourth-week postpartum depressive symptoms of adolescent mothers (read more).

Fetal Programming of Infant Stress Reactivity

Recent studies suggest that pregnant women who report high levels of stress, anxiety, or depression have babies who are at increased risk for poor developmental outcomes. For example, infants of distressed mothers have a higher incidence of “difficult” temperament, behavioural and emotional problems, and physical disease. Unfortunately, these effects can last a lifetime. Research also suggests that when women are stressed, anxious, or depressed during pregnancy, the way in which these psychological problems affect their babies is through “stress hormones”. Exposure to maternal stress hormones during formation of the baby’s stress response system can alter its function and make it over-reactive to stress throughout the child’s life. These changes may explain why children whose mothers were distressed during pregnancy are at increased risk for developmental and health problems. (read more)

Fetal Programming of Infant Stress Reactivity and Atopic Disease

This proposed Allergen Strategic Initiative is an extension of the ongoing Fetal Programming study, co-funded by CIHR and the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research. The Fetal Programming study seeks to examine: (1) the impact of prenatal psychophysiological stress on infant stress reactivity, and (2) potential of optimal postnatal care to moderate any observed association between prenatal psychophysiological stress and infant stress reactivity. The proposed Allergen Strategic Initiative will extend the Fetal Programming study to explore the influence and interactions of maternal psychophysiological stress, infant stress reactivity, and postnatal infant care on the development of the atopic diseases of asthma (wheeze) and dermatitis in infants. The proposed Allergen Strategic Initiative will form the foundation for a future proposal to CIHR that will further explore atopic disease trajectories in the longitudinal sample. (read more)

Methadone Maintenance treatment – Moms

Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) is held as the gold standard in helping individuals overcome addictions to opiates. Due to the crucially important role of mothers in raising the next generation of healthy contributing citizens (i.e. their children), the familial and societal benefits of helping mothers overcome addictions are huge. However, mothers face greater barriers to remaining engaged in MMT than other groups, due for example, to challenges accessing safe and reliable child care and transportation. Very little is known about how to help mothers overcome barriers to engagement in MMT or how MMT may influence mothers’ parenting capacity (read more).

Mothering and Domestic Violence: A Longitudinal Analysis

The quality of the relationships that parents, particularly mothers, have with their children is a potent predictor of children’s future development (read more).

Parental Reflective Function and Preschool Children’s Development

Parental Reflective Function and Preschool Children’s Development will examine the association between parental RF and quality of relationships with their 4 year olds and the cognitive, language and social-emotional development of their children one year later. Thus, accounting for known covariates (e.g. stress, family income, parental depression, child temperament, child sex). This research will not only test the widespread assumption that both mothers’ and fathers’ RF relates to children’s development, but will do so at an important developmental time point – preschool. Understanding parents’ influences on preschool children’s development will inform and guide numerous parenting programs in Canada and abroad that are designed to promote children’s social and school success, especially for those vulnerable to social ills such as poverty and parental addiction. (read more)

Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are serious mood disorders encountered by nurses working in a variety of settings. Postpartum depression refers to a nonpsychotic depressive episode, while postpartum psychosis refers to a manic or affective psychotic episode linked temporally with childbirth (read more).

Postpartum Depression and the Impact on Dads

Postpartum mood disorders represent the most frequent form of maternal morbidity following delivery. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a major health problem for many wormen. While maternal PPD have been greatly researched in the last decade, much less is known about the impact of PPD on fathers (read more).

Postpartum Depression and Social Support

A lack of social support has consistently been demonstrated to be an important modifiable risk factor for postpartum depression. As such, a greater understanding of specific support variables may assist health professionals in the development of effective preventive interventions. The purpose of this paper was two-fold: (1) to determine if women discriminated between global and relationship-specific perceptions of support, and (2) to examine the influence of global and relationship-specific perceptions of support in the immediate postpartum period on the development of depressive symptomotology at 8 weeks postpartum (read more).

An RCT to evaluate the effect of home-based peer support on maternal-infant interaction, infant health outcomes, and postpartum depression

Researchers at the University of New Brunswick, in collaboration with the University of Alberta, are conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to examine the impact of a home-based peer support intervention for mothers and their infants affected by postpartum depression (PPD). Research suggests that depressed mothers may not pick up on their infants’ cues and thus, not provide positive feedback or meet their infants’ needs (read more).

Role of Paternal Support in Predicting Children’s Behavioural Development When Mothers are Depressed

Fathers’ ability and availability to provide social support to their depressed partners and thus promote their children’s development and success may be influenced by their workforce participation, health, and years of education. This study of 626 children and their families examined the influence of fathers’ characteristics on their children’s behavioural development, when exposed to maternal postpartum depression, taking into account known covariates, including sex of the child, family structure, number of children in the household, annual income, and family functioning. For the behavioral outcomes of anxiety, hyperactivity, and aggression, fathers’ workforce participation during the children’s first 2 years of life significantly predicted their development over the next 10 years. Most notably, weekend work by fathers was a risk factor, particularly for boys. Thus fathers’ characteristics related to their ability and availability to provide social support for their depressed partner appear to predict children’s developmental success.(read more)

Support for Women who Experienced Postpartum Depression

Annually in Canada, postpartum depression (PPD) affects up to 25% of new mothers and is the most common health problem after childbirth. Without support, many women suffer months or years of illness that can have negative long-term impacts on family health and on the intellectual, social, and emotional development of children. Even when support services are available, many women with PPD decline intervention (read more).

Supporting Mother-Infant Relationships Affected by Intimate Partner Violence

Researchers at the University of New Brunswick, in collaboration with the University of Prince Edward Island, Dalhousie University and Cape Breton University, are conducting a study investigating the impact of intimate partner violence on a child’s development and on the quality of the mother-child relationship. Recent research has suggested that intimate partner violence may produce alterations in the mother-infant relationship, which in turn may have adverse effects on the child’s psychological and behavioural development (read more).

Unraveling the relationship between
socio-economic status and child and adolescent behavioural, cognitive and language development

The primary objective of this project is to conduct a systematic, rigorous, and exhaustive review of research on the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES; as measured by income, education, marital status and occupational prestige as composite or discrete measures) and child and adolescent developmental outcomes (read more).

Working For Kids: Building Skills Assessment in Alberta

(read more)