The Pregnancy, Parenting and Infant Development (PPID) group is an interdisciplinary group of scholars with a commitment to research on early social and emotional development in the period of infancy and early childhood. We focus on research, training, and interventions for understanding critical issues related to the development of healthy parent-infant relationships and early infant development.
The early infancy period is a critical time for brain development, early self-regulation, and the development of secure attachments to caregivers. The infant-caregiver relationship is paramount in supporting the healthy social and emotional development of children in the early years. Infant, parent, and social-contextual factors play a role in determining the quality of early infant-caregiver relationships. Parental depression, social stressors, and the lack of available partner and social supports are related to disturbances in mother-infant interaction. Similarly, the vulnerability and fragile health of a premature infant can alter patterns of interaction between infant and caregiver. Yet, it is the quality of these early interactions with a sensitive and responsive caregiver that is critical to fostering healthy social and emotional outcomes for young children. The PPID group is devoted to understanding parenting and infant development in both high-risk and community-based samples using longitudinal research designs. Our goal is to uncover the mechanisms and developmental processes that predict the intergenerational transmission of psychopathology, to study the normative developmental pathways of early emotion regulation, and to assess those factors that alter healthy pathways of development or promote resilience in early development. Our members focus on a wide variety of topics including the normative developmental pathways of early self-regulation, disruptions of the parent-infant relationship that may undermine healthy development, the effects of maternal mental health in the perinatal period, the role of fathers and the development of secure father-infant attachments, the neurological underpinnings of infant and parent behavior, and the development of appropriate interventions and psychosocial education to promote the long term health and well-being of parents and their children.