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Child evoked maternal negativity from 9 to 27 months: a malleable genetic risk for adult internalizing psychiatric disorders Seminar

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16:00 - 17:00
17 March 2011
School of Psychology, Room 3095, Shackleton Building (Building 44), University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Barbara Seiter on 02380 595578 or email .

Event details

There is great interest in understanding the genetic influences on emotional and behavioural development and increasingly attention is turning to the earliest months and years of life for detecting the emergence of these effects and their role in psychopathology.

Two approaches to this issue have emerged in the developmental psychopathology literature: the first focuses on conceptualizing and studying the mechanisms of genetic risk as emanating from temperamental traits in the child, which are in turn direct forerunners of later emotional or behavioural problems. Another approach, less well recognised, is to think of genetic risk for psychopathology as residing in an adverse environmental reaction to genetically based features of the child. In other words, genetic risk is carried by more or less predictable environmental consequences of genetically-influenced evocative traits in the child. This ‘gene-environment correlation’ approach places critical emphasis on variability in the caregiving environment for carrying forward--or diminishing--genetic risk. In this talk, I will present findings from a longitudinal adoption study where we have directly explored the role of the environment in mediating genetic risk in early development. The findings suggest that one of the earliest manifestations of genetic risk for affective disorder in the child is a parent’s expressed feelings of negativity about the child and their own parenting.


Tea will be served beforehand at 15:45 in room 3096 (iZone room).

Speaker information

Dr Pasco Fearon,School of Psychology, University of Reading

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