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The impact of maternal depression symptoms on child's executive functions and emotional recognition at age 15: the 2004 Pelotas birth cohort

Grant number: 23/00522-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2023
Effective date (End): May 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Collective Health - Epidemiology
Principal Investigator:Alicia Matijasevich Manitto
Grantee:Julia de Souza Rodrigues
Supervisor: Maria Asunción Pastor Valero
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche (UMH), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:20/13425-3 - Risk and protection factors for the development of executive functions in adolescence: Pelotas 2004 birth cohort, BP.DD

Abstract

Maternal depression includes major nonpsychotic depressive episodes that range from mild to severe and may begin during pregnancy or in the first year after birth. Recently, researchers have demonstrated the negative effects of maternal depression on the development of executive functions and emotional cognition in children during childhood and adolescence. Executive functions is an umbrella term for a family of top-down mental processes related to conscious, goal-directed modulation of thoughts, emotions, and actions. Emotion recognition is a multifaceted construct that represents the ability to perceive and name sensory stimuli that provide information about another person's emotional state. Evidence from low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in this research area is still extremely sparse, which poses a serious public health concern, especially considering that 84.0% of children worldwide live in LMICs. In Brazil, the prevalence of maternal depression is about 20%. The objectives of this project proposal at Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH), under the supervision of Prof. Maria Pastor Valero, are: (i) to deepen the theoretical knowledge in public health and epidemiology of maternal depression and adolescent cognitive and emotional development; (ii) to participate in academic activities such as seminars and courses; (iii) to improve academic writing in English, as well as skills in statistical analysis methods; (iv) to strengthen the collaborative research network between the two institutions; (v) to fulfill the requirements of the dual doctoral degree that the candidate will obtain at both institutions; (vi) to jointly analyze the data, discuss the results, and write a manuscript using data from the 2004 Pelotas birth cohort. Regarding the manuscript, in special, we aim to investigate the associations between maternal depressive symptoms (manifesting from childbirth to age 11), adolescent executive functions (visual memory and learning capacity, sustained attention, spatial working memory) and emotional recognition at age 15. The theoretical model involves modeling latent variables through the structural equation modeling approach, in order to understand the complex relationships between the different variables studied. (AU)

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