Psychological

Our Psychological Special Interest Group is able to investigate areas of human cognitive (i.e. thinking) development, mental health and disorders. The group has a range of measures on our participants relating to early cognitive and motor development, family functioning, bullying, eating and body image, happiness, autism traits, and symptoms and diagnosis of mental health disorders across different ages and generations within the Raine Study.

SIG Leaders:

A/Prof Ashleigh Lin, Telethon Kids Institute

Dr Monique Robinson, Telethon Kids Institute

Key findings over the last 30 years have included:

Using information collected from the Raine Study participants, researchers found that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may influence risk for postnatal dfepression. Different maternal factors during pregnancy, such as stressful life events, smoking, high blood pressure, as well as postnatal factors such as breastfeeding for shorter time and multiple baby blues symptoms are linked to later offspring behavioural and emotional development in childhood and adolescence. Researchers also showed that the baby’s growth and exposure to sex hormones in utero are associated with brain development disorders. Further, adolescents who experience neck and back pain reported mental health difficulties, and those who were a victim of peer aggression had increased odds of later depression whilst perpetrators of peer aggression were found to be at increased risk of depression and harmful alcohol use.

Mothers deficient in vitamin D during pregnancy may be at increased risk for symptoms of postnatal depression. 

  • Robinson M, Whitehouse AJO, Newnham JP, Gorman S, Jacoby P, Holt BJ, Serralha M, Tearne JE, Holt PG, Hart PH & Kusel MMH. Low maternal serum vitamin D during pregnancy and the risk for postpartum depression symptoms. Archives of Women’s Mental Health. 2014;17(3):213-9.

Although classified as ‘term’, delivery at 37 weeks’ gestation is associated with increased risk for child behavioural problems. 

  • Robinson M, Whitehouse AJO, Zubrick SR, Pennell CE, Jacoby P, McLean NJ, Oddy WH, Hammond G, Stanley FJ & Newnham JP. Delivery at 37 weeks’ gestation is associated with a higher risk for child behavioural problems. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2013;53(2):143-151.

Different maternal factors during (e.g. smoking, high blood pressure and stress) and after pregnancy (e.g. length of breastfeeding and symptoms of baby blues) are linked to later offspring behavioural and emotional development in childhood and adolescence.

  • Robinson M, Oddy WH, Li J, Kendall GE, de Klerk NH, Silburn SR, Zubrick SR, Newnham JP, Stanley FJ & Mattes E. Pre- and postnatal influences on preschool mental health: A large-scale cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. 2008;49(10):1118-28.
  • Robinson M, Mattes E, Oddy WH, de Klerk NH, Li J, McLean NJ, Silburn SR, Zubrick SR, Stanley FJ & Newnham JP. Hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and the development of behavioural problems in childhood and adolescence: The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study. The Journal of Pediatrics. 2009;154(2):218-24.
  • Robinson M, Mattes E, Oddy WH, , Pennell CE, van Eekelen JAM, McLean NJ, Jacoby P, Li J, de Klerk NH, Zubrick SR, Stanley FJ & Newnham JP. Prenatal stress events and behavioural development from age two to 14 years: The influence of the number, type and timing of stressful life experiences. Development and Psychopathology. 2011;23(2):507-20.
  • Bhat SK, Beilin LJ, Robinson M, Burrows S, Mori TA. Maternal smoking and low family income during pregnancy as predictors of the relationship between depression and adiposity in young adults. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 2018;9(5):552-60.
  • Herbison C, Allen K, Robinson M, Newnham J,Pennell C. The impact of life stress on adult depression and anxiety is dependent on gender and timing of exposure. Development and Psychopathology. 2017;29(4):1443-54.

The identification of biological risk factors associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.

  • Whitehouse, AJ, Hickey M, Stanley FJ, Newnham JP, Pennell CE. Brief report: a preliminary study of fetal head circumference growth in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2011;41(1):122-29.
  • Whitehouse AJO, Maybery MT, Hart R, Mattes E, Newnham JP, Sloboda DM, Stanley FJ, Hickey M. Fetal androgen exposure and pragmatic language ability of girls in middle childhood: Implications for the extreme male-brain theory of autism. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010;35(8):1259-64.

Adolescents who were a victim of peer aggression had increased odds of later depression whilst perpetrators of peer aggression were found to be at increased risk of depression and harmful alcohol use.

  • Moore SE, Norman RE, Sly PD, Whitehouse AJ, Zubrick SR, Scott J. Adolescent peer aggression and its association with mental health and substance use in an Australian cohort. Journal of adolescence. 2014;37(1):11-21

Back and neck pain are common in adolescence and can be associated with mental health difficulties. Females reported more mental health difficulties than males.

  • Rees CS, Smith AJ, O’Sullivan PB, Kendall GE, Straker LM. Back and neck pain are related to mental health problems in adolescence. BMC Public Health. 2011;11:382.

 

 

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