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The relation between post-delivery depression symptoms and neural processing of maternal touch in 6-month babies

Grant number: 21/05205-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2021
Effective date (End): September 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Human Development Psychology
Principal researcher:Ana Alexandra Caldas Osório
Grantee:Isabella Germinhasi Francischelli
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM). Instituto Presbiteriano Mackenzie. São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Postpartum depression, when left untreated, can have negative consequences on the mother-baby relationship and the baby's later development. For example, mothers may become less sensitive to their baby's emotional needs, touch their baby less often, or touch more negatively. During childhood, touch is an important communication channel in the mother-baby relationship, mainly due to the role it plays in the baby's emotional regulation in stressful situations. The effective touch is a specific dimension of touch, which resembles a caress, very present in the interactions that naturally occur between the mother and her baby. This type of touch involves aspects of affective meaning and pleasantness of the tactile experience and recruits somatosensory areas as well as areas called social of the brain, such as the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS). However, little is known how the mother's depressive symptoms can influence the processing of affective touch, considering the impact it has on the use of tactile behaviors during the interaction with the baby. Thus, the present study sought to understand the relationship between the postpartum depression symptoms of the mother and the neural response, assessed using Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), from 6-month-old babies to the affective touch perceived as being performed by your mother. (AU)

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