Postpartum Depression Crosses Generations

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Researchers at Tufts University exposed rats and their children to early life stress, resulting in depressed maternal care, aggression, increased restlessness and anxiety-related behavior, and alterations in stress hormones and lactation in the mothers. The second generation, in turn, displayed a similar pattern of upon becoming mothers. “. . . This study provides insight into how social stress affects both human and animal behavior in the areas of maternal care, anxiety and lactation, and provides a wealth of observations,” said the study’s lead author.

Abstract →

Carini, L., Nephew, B.; Effects of early life social stress on endocrinology, maternal behavior, and lactation in rats. Hormones and Behavior. Volume 64, Issue 4, September 2013, Pages 634–641

Of further interest:
Postpartum depression spans generations (Science Codex)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

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