On any given day in the United States, more than 1100 adolescents give birth, and massive evidence demonstrates that their children are at increased risk for adverse perintal outcomes and future psychopalhology. New dala for 2006 indicale that the birth rate for U.S. adolescents ages 15-19 years old increased by 3% since 2005, the first increase since 1991 [1]. The population of adolescent girls is expected to grow by 10% by 2010 (2]. further increasing the number of births to teens. Adolescents who are pregnant are more often materially poor, and minorities, and this trend too is on the rise. Rates are 63.7 births per 1,000 for non-Hispanic black adolescents - a 5% increase from 2005;83.0 for Hispanic teenagers, a 2% increase, and 26.6 for non- Hispanic white adolescents, a 3% increase [1). The overall goal of this application is to determine if, in this underserved and understudied population, exposure to maternal antenatal stress contributes to poor birth outcomes and alterations in perinatal neurobehavioral development. Positive findings would indicate that risk for poor developmental trajectories is initiated in the perinatal period, and would suggest openings for preemptive psychosocial interventions. The specific goals of the biopsychosocial research proposed here are to (1) assess life stress in pregnant adolescents and relate it to offspring outcomes and (2) determine the biological pathways for this putative association using ecologically valid approaches.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health Study Section (MESH)
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Zehr, Julia L
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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