Project 2 examines 150 children who experience early life stress (ELS) in the form of institutional rearing during their first 18-30 postnatal months and then are adopted into families. It builds on a funded R01 that was initially developed for this Center by examining how our Center model predicts attention- and emotion- regulatory problems when these post-institutionalized children adjust to the increased demands of formal schooling. Reflecting the Center's 2 specific aims, Project 2 will: (1) test the hypothesis that ELS sensitizes developing stress- and threat-response systems with decreasing capacity for recovery and hence more significant impacts on later attention- and emotion-regulatory competence with age at adoption;(2)examine whether post-adoption parenting interacts with pre-adoption adversity and changes in stress- and threat- system functioning to predict attention- and emotion-regulatory problems. For Project 2, we will collect measures of attention- and emotion-regulatory problems at 12-mos post adoption and kindergarten. Because the R01 funded project will obtain measures of parenting and stress- &threat-system functioning that are identical to those obtained in Project 1 (foster care), adding this 12-month assessment will allow us to fully integrate the data from both projects to examine the Center's model. The kindergarten assessment allows us to evaluate the model's ability to predict children's functioning at a critical developmental juncture;the onset of formal schooling creates a developmental context where competent attention- and emotion-regulation are more significant. Project 2 will use measures collected as part of the funded R01 [parenting, autonomic and neuroendocrine regulation, and fear behavior collected repeatedly over the first two years post-adoption, along with electrophysiologicaland neurocognitive measures obtained the year before kindergarten] to predict emotion- and attention-regulatory problems. In addition to paralleling measures in Project 1 (foster care), Project 2 involves measures of parenting, neuroendocrine, and neurocognitive functioning that are being obtained in a species-comparable fashion in Project 3 (Rhesus monkey), thus permitting this project to contribute to the integrative aims of our Center work, this project draws on all 5 cores of the Center.

Public Health Relevance

Project 2 contributes uniquely by studying early stress effects in children who experience marked and permanent improvement in care when adopted from orphanages. Comparable data collection with Project 1 permits examination of similarities and differences in recovery trajectories of fostered and orphanage- adopted children. Comparable neurobehavioral measures with Project 3 enhances translation of animal data.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Specialized Center (P50)
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
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