A study to Better Understand Mood during the Perinatal Period (BUMPP)

Self-regulation—the ability to regulate one’s physiology, behavior, attention, and emotion—is theorized to develop during infancy in the context of infant-caregiver interactions, which require both infant and caregiver contributions. However, maternal perinatal depression may hinder the development of infant self-regulation. Specifically, prenatal depression may undermine infant physiological regulation while postnatal depression may undermine sensitive parenting, both of which are critical for the infant-caregiver interactions supporting self-regulation. Thus, infants exposed to different timing patterns of perinatal depression (prenatal, postnatal, or both) may experience different mechanisms of risk for impaired self-regulation. The BUMPP Follow-Up Study, which is a follow-up of the BUMPP study currently being conducted through the Gunnar Lab by Mariann Howland, will examine the distinct but potentially interacting pathways through which maternal pre- and postnatal depression may impact infant self-regulation and whether variable patterns of perinatal depression are associated with the development of distinct self-regulation strategies. The BUMPP Study will recruit 166 pregnant women and assess prenatal maternal depression at 34-35 weeks gestation as well as maternal depression, infant physiological regulation, and maternal sensitivity at 2 months postpartum. This follow-up study will add on an assessment of infant self-regulation at 6 months postpartum to examine independent pathways through which pre- and postnatal depression predict infant self-regulation. We will also examine the interaction of these pathways. We expect our findings to contribute to the understanding of interactions between two key pathways involved in the intergenerational transmission of depression. The BUMPP Follow-Up Study is being conducted by Emily Padrutt as part of her dissertation work.