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Observational research in the context of postpartum depression

Grant number: 13/12212-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2013
Effective date (End): March 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Human Development Psychology
Principal Investigator:Vera Silvia Raad Bussab
Grantee:Julia Scarano de Mendonça
Supervisor: Joscha Kärtner
Host Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Munster, Germany  


The objective of this research internship is to consolidate the theoretical and practical knowledge of the use of observational data in human development research. I intend to do the research internship at the Observational Laboratory of the Department of Human Development of Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany, directed by Dr. Joscha Kärtner. Concerning my data specifically, I intend to do statistical analysis of the dyadic observational data (mother-child and father-child), to conclude the taxonomy of the triadic coding (mother-father-child), and to start the coding process using the German software Interact. I also intend to write an article in collaboration with Dr. Joscha Käertner about the interactional synchrony in mother-child and father-child interaction and to start a second article about the interactional synchrony in the mother-father-child triad. 1. A comparison of mother-child and father-child interactional synchrony in the context of postpartum depression.The interactional synchrony in mother-child and father-child dyads was coded using four categories: physical proximity, visual and body orientation and dyadic involvement. Families whose mothers reported symptoms of depression will be compared with families whose mothers did not report depression symptoms. A series of studies show difficulties in mother-child interaction when the mother has postpartum depression. Recent results from the Thematic Project, in which my postdoctoral research is included, about the origins and consequences of postpartum depression have shown different interactive patterns in mother-child dyads when the mother reports symptoms of depression.There is still little research on father-child interaction in the context of postpartum depression. Some studies suggest that the father could have a moderator role regarding the effects of maternal depression on the family, when there is marital satisfaction. A hypothesis is that the partner's support activates mother's resilience mechanisms which could help them to overcome their depression. The analysis of the observational data will bring complementary information concerning the father functioning in families with and without depression. 2. Interactional synchrony of mother-father-child triad in the context of postpartum depressionInspired by the systemic approach to the family, developmental psychologists increasingly take into consideration the various social contexts in which the child participates and the multiple social interactions in each one of them. In recent years, the same tendency has inspired research on the origins and consequences of PPD. Paradigmatic shifts often lead to great methodological challenges. One of the greatest challenges in ethological-based developmental research with an emphasis on behavior and social interaction is the observation and coding of multiple interactions.I will do a training at the Centre d'Études de la Famille at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland in September of 2013 with the objective of adapting my dyadic interactional synchrony coding system to the mother-father-child triadic social interaction. The training at the Centre d'Études de la Famille will provide the basis to undertake this work, which will be continued during the research internship in Germany in collaboration with Dr. Joscha Käertner. Observational studies in the context of PPD are rare, especially studies that consider the context of the family. Research results showing different interactive patterns between family members in families where the mother has PPD will help the development of prevention and intervention programs involving the whole family. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DE MENDONCA, JULIA SCARANO; RAAD BUSSAB, VERA SILVIA; KAERTNER, JOSCHA. Interactional Synchrony and Child Gender Differences in Dyadic and Triadic Family Interactions. JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES, v. 40, n. 8, p. 959-981, . (13/12212-2, 06/59192-2)

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