Stress, Coping, and Depression

Stress, Coping, and Depression

Stress, Coping, and Depression

Stress, Coping, and Depression


Stress, Coping, and Depression is the latest volume based on the Annual Stress and Coping Conference held at the University of Miami. In this timely collection, leading researchers offer a variety of new perspectives on depression. They review the social, biological, and psychological processes that put adults and their children at risk and discuss innovative treatments grounded in empirical studies. Research findings are integrated across domains to construct more effective models of etiology and intervention. The contributors' thought-provoking ideas will provide inspiration for the ongoing efforts addressing the problems associated with this devastating disorder.

Content highlights include:

• novel information processing approaches to depression;

• an overview of the neural pathways guiding moods;

• empirical approaches for the treatment of bipolar disorders;

• integrated models of biological and environmental influences on the transmission of depression to children; and

• new perspectives on the relationship between personality and stress.


Tiffany M. Field Touch Research Institutes, University of Miami Medical School and Nova Southeastern University

Maternal depression negatively affects infants as early as the neonatal period, implicating prenatal effects of maternal depression. This is discussed in the first section of this chapter. As early as birth, the infants show a profile of dysregulation in their behavior, physiology, and biochemistry, which probably derives from prenatal exposure to a biochemical imbalance in their mothers. These effects are compounded by the disorganizing influence of the mothers' interaction behavior.

Nondepressed caregivers, such as fathers, may buffer these effects because they provide more optimal stimulation and arousal modulation. The evidence for this and the positive effects of several laboratory interventions are presented in the second section of this chapter. Interventions such as massage and music therapy, which are mood altering for the mothers and arousal reducing for the infants, make the mothers and infants more responsive to interaction coaching and improve their interactions. These interventions may be effective because (a) they induce a better mood state in the mothers (and alter right frontal electroencephalograms, EEGs, a marker of depression) and (b) they reduce sympathetic arousal in the infants. Norepinephrine and cortisol levels, for example, are lower following 1 month of these therapies, and (c) being less sympathetically aroused, both the mothers and infants can be more responsive and more available to interaction coaching; thus, their interactions subsequently improve.

Depressed mothers have two predominant interaction styles, withdrawn or intrusive, which seem to have differential, negative effects on infants . . .

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