There are several aims for the proposed project:
Aim 1) To quantify the relationships between maternal prenatal psychosocial and activity level and infant psychosocial adjustment along with birth outcomes.
Aim 2) To determine a general time-point when maternal cortisol levels are most impactful for fetal HPA axis development and infant temperament.
The study includes 3 at-home collections using a free kit that will be mailed to you: collection 1 during your 3rd trimester, collection 2 between 10-12 weeks after your baby’s birth, and collection 3 six months after the birth of your baby. Participants will complete several self-reported surveys online and will be asked to wear a Fitbit activity monitor over the full study duration (approx. 9 months).
- Prior to collection 1: You will complete several brief surveys online.
- During collection 1: The research team will meet with you over video call to walk you through how to collect your hair sample and to show you how to use the Fitbit. A small hair sample from a concealed portion of your head to measure the amount of Cortisol (a hormone) you produce will be collected.
- During collection 2: You will complete several brief surveys online and provide another hair sample. You will also collect saliva samples from your baby at three different time points for three days (a total of 9 saliva samples) and a collection of your own saliva.
- During collection 3: You will complete several brief surveys online and provide another hair sample. You will also collect saliva samples from your baby at three different time points for three days (a total of 9 saliva samples) and a collection of your own saliva.
Why the Navy?
Military families face unique life experiences (Drummet et al., 2003)
- Social expectations in the structured environment
- Deployment stress
- Reunion stress (happiness high then readjustment phase)
- Perceived work hazards
- Repeated relocations (2.4x more often than civilian families)
- No direct access to familial support
- Educational opportunities for children
- Career opportunities for non-military spouses
The researchers for this project are highly aware of the specific stressors and social structure of military families. Jennifer Madigan is the child of two Navy veterans and was immersed in that culture for 23 years. Dr. Denise Smart has 34 years of nursing experience in both civilian and military institutions.
- Parents involved in our research often report that they have become better observers of their infants after answering temperament related questions.
- Results from this study could influence how the military healthcare system provides support for families during a pregnancy.
- Ideally this study could inform the public (military spouses in particular) about the unique stressors military families undergo and how that can affect their offspring.
- This research could also lead to an indication of a time during HPA axis development that is most critical for infant responsiveness.
For your participation you will receive a total of $100 in visa gift cards. $50 will be given at the completion of the visit at time point 1 and another $50 will be given at the completion of the visit at time point 3. You will also be allowed to keep the Fitbit given to you at the beginning of the study.