42 research outputs found

    Paternal Parenting Stress during Middle Childhood: The Impact of COVID-19

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    Background: Parenting stress is the unpleasant psychological reaction to the demands of parenthood, including perceptions of competence at and knowledge of the day-to-day and long-term tasks of parenting (Deater-Deckard 2006). While most research has examined mothers, father parenting stress is also critical to children’s development, predicting increased problem behaviors (Cabrera & Mitchell 2009) and poorer cognitive skills (Harwood, 2017). The COVID-19 pandemic may increase parental stress in multiple ways, as parents are at home more with their children while fulfilling occupational and personal responsibilities. Parents have reported increased stress due to job loss, school closures, and other stressors (van Tilburg et al., 2020), and COVID-19 stressors are associated with higher parental stress in mothers (Brown et al., 2020). This study aimed to examine: 1) how parenting stress in fathers relates to sociodemographics; 2) how COVID-19 may impact parenting stress, relative to sociodemographics. It was hypothesized that 1) fathers in families with less education or income, unmarried, or living in rural areas would report higher parenting stress, and 2) COVID-19 would contribute to parenting stress over and above sociodemographics. Methods: Participants were fathers (n=172) of children ages 6-10, living in the United States, and had at least regular visitation with their child. Fathers were surveyed once through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk between November 2020 through February 2021. The sample was 58% White, 18.6% Black, 7.6% Hispanic, 7.6% Asian American/Pacific Islander, 8.1% All Other Races and Ethnicities, and 97.1% worked full-time. Measures included the Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction subscale of the Parenting Stress Index, 4th Edition Short Form (Abidin, 2012), the COVID-19 Impact Scale (Kaufman & Stoddard, 2020), and demographic factors (father age, household income, perceived social class, marital status, education, and urban/rural environment). Results: COVID-19 impact was positively associated with the parenting stress (parent-child dysfunction subscale; r=.50, p\u3c.001). Greater parenting stress was also associated with higher perceived social class (r=.237, p\u3c.001), more education (r=.24, p\u3c.001), and being married (t(155)=-2.81, p=.006). Fathers in urban environments endorsed more parenting stress (t(170)=2.57, p=.011) than those in rural environments. There were no significant associations between father age or household income with parenting stress. Regressions indicated COVID-19 impact was associated with parenting stress (ꞔ=.446, R2=.318, p\u3c.001) over and above the impact of marital status, perceived social class, urban/rural environment, and education level. Blocked regression indicated that COVID-19 impact was associated with parenting stress over and above sociodemographic factors. Block 1 explained 12% of the variance in parenting stress while adding COVID-19 impact to Block 2 explained 31% of the variance in parenting stress. Discussion: COVID-19 and parenting stress were strongly associated with one another. However, contrary to hypotheses, fathers who were married, more educated, identified with higher social classes, or lived in urban environments reported more parenting stress. This may be due to the impact of COVID-19, such that married fathers may have more time with their children, fathers with higher education or perceived social class may be working from home more, and urban areas may have seen more dramatic changes to daily life. Fathers more impacted by COVID-19 may benefit from additional supports or services to reduce demands and parenting stress. Although a single timepoint and single-reporter measurement, findings suggest that interventions designed to reduce COVID-19 related stressors may, in turn, benefit other aspects of family well-being

    Postnatal Depressive Symptoms Among Mothers and Fathers of Infants Born Preterm: Prevalence and Impacts on Children's Early Cognitive Function

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    OBJECTIVE: Preterm birth is associated with lower cognitive functioning. One potential pathway is postnatal parental depression. The authors assessed depressive symptoms in mothers and fathers after preterm birth, and identified the impacts of both prematurity and parental depressive symptoms on children's early cognitive function. METHOD: Data were from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (n = 5350). Depressive symptoms at 9 months were assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD) and children's cognitive function at 24 months by the Bayley Short Form, Research Edition. Weighted generalized estimating equation models examined the extent to which preterm birth, and mothers' and fathers' postnatal depressive symptoms impacted children's cognitive function at 24 months, and whether the association between preterm birth and 24-month cognitive function was mediated by parental depressive symptoms. RESULTS: At 9 months, fathers of very preterm (<32 weeks gestation) and moderate/late preterm (32-37 weeks gestation) infants had higher CESD scores than fathers of term-born (≄37 weeks gestation) infants (p value = .02); preterm birth was not associated with maternal depressive symptoms. In multivariable analyses, preterm birth was associated with lower cognitive function at 24 months; this association was unaffected by adjustment for parental depressive symptoms. Fathers', but not mothers', postnatal depressive symptoms predicted lower cognitive function in the fully adjusted model (ÎČ = -0.11, 95% confidence interval, -0.18 to -0.03). CONCLUSION: Fathers of preterm infants have more postnatal depressive symptomology than fathers of term-born infants. Fathers' depressive symptoms also negatively impact children's early cognitive function. The national findings support early identification and treatment of fathers of preterm infants with depressive symptoms

    Properties of local interactions and their potential value in complementing genome-wide association studies

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    Local interactions between neighbouring SNPs are hypothesized to be able to capture variants missing from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) via haplotype effects but have not been thoroughly explored. We have used a new high-throughput analysis tool to probe this underexplored area through full pair-wise genome scans and conventional GWAS in diastolic and systolic blood pressure and six metabolic traits in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (NFBC1966) and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study cohort (ARIC). Genome-wide significant interactions were detected in ARIC for systolic blood pressure between PLEKHA7 (a known GWAS locus for blood pressure) and GPR180 (which plays a role in vascular remodelling), and also for triglycerides as local interactions within the 11q23.3 region (replicated significantly in NFBC1966), which notably harbours several loci (BUD13, ZNF259 and APOA5) contributing to triglyceride levels. Tests of the local interactions within the 11q23.3 region conditional on the top GWAS signal suggested the presence of two independent functional variants, each with supportive evidence for their roles in gene regulation. Local interactions captured 9 additional GWAS loci identified in this study (3 significantly replicated) and 73 from previous GWAS (24 in the eight traits and 49 in related traits). We conclude that the detection of local interactions requires adequate SNP coverage of the genome and that such interactions are only likely to be detectable between SNPs in low linkage disequilibrium. Analysing local interactions is a potentially valuable complement to GWAS and can provide new insights into the biology underlying variation in complex traits

    KBase: The United States Department of Energy Systems Biology Knowledgebase.

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    Global urban environmental change drives adaptation in white clover

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    Urbanization transforms environments in ways that alter biological evolution. We examined whether urban environmental change drives parallel evolution by sampling 110,019 white clover plants from 6169 populations in 160 cities globally. Plants were assayed for a Mendelian antiherbivore defense that also affects tolerance to abiotic stressors. Urban-rural gradients were associated with the evolution of clines in defense in 47% of cities throughout the world. Variation in the strength of clines was explained by environmental changes in drought stress and vegetation cover that varied among cities. Sequencing 2074 genomes from 26 cities revealed that the evolution of urban-rural clines was best explained by adaptive evolution, but the degree of parallel adaptation varied among cities. Our results demonstrate that urbanization leads to adaptation at a global scale

    Cortical gray matter differences identified by structural magnetic resonance imaging in pediatric bipolar disorder

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    OBJECTIVE: Few magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of bipolar disorder (BPD) have investigated the entire cerebral cortex. Cortical gray matter (GM) volume deficits have been reported in some studies of adults with BPD; this study assessed the presence of such deficits in children with BPD. METHODS: Thirty-two youths with DSM-IV BPD (mean age 11.2 +/- 2.8 years) and 15 healthy controls (HC) (11.2 +/- 3.0 years) had structured and clinical interviews, neurological examinations, neurocognitive testing, and MRI scanning on a 1.5 T GE Scanner. Image parcellation divided the neocortex into 48 gyral-based units per hemisphere, and these units were combined into frontal (FL), temporal (TL), parietal (PL), and occipital (OL) lobe volumes. Volumetric differences were examined using univariate linear regression models with alpha = 0.05. RESULTS: Relative to controls, the BPD youth had significantly smaller bilateral PL, and left TL. Analysis of PL and TL gyri showed significantly smaller volume in bilateral postcentral gyrus, and in left superior temporal and fusiform gyri, while the parahippocampal gyri were bilaterally increased in the BPD group. Although the FL overall did not differ between groups, an exploratory analysis showed that the right middle frontal gyrus was also significantly smaller in the BPD group. CONCLUSIONS: Children with BPD showed deficits in PL and TL cortical GM. Further analyses of the PL and TL found differences in areas involved in attentional control, facial recognition, and verbal and declarative memory. These cortical deficits may reflect early age of illness onset