WARM – University of Copenhagen

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Wellbeing And Resilience: Mechanisms of transmission of health and risk in parents with complex mental health problems and their offspring (The WARM Study)

The project is a prospective cohort study of women with a lifetime diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum disorder and their infants in Denmark and Scotland starting from pregnancy. The project is supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research.

The aim of the study is to establish the feasibility of developing a cohort of pregnant women with a life time diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum disorder and the following comparison groups: pregnant women with a life time diagnosis of bipolar disorder, pregnant women with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder at the time of assessment and a non-psychiatric pregnant women control group. Establishing this cohort will provide the basis for long-term follow-up and intervention development. We will evaluate factors in the parents, the infant, the social environment and their interaction over time in terms of evolution of very early indicators of developmental risk and resilience (stress sensitivity infant socio-emotional and motor-cognitive development). 

Research Questions

Feasibility

  1. Can a population of pregnant women with a diagnosis of psychosis / schizophrenia be identified?
  2. Can a population of clinical controls with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder be identified?
  3. What is the rate of informed consent into the study?
  4. Can measures of maternal physiological stress sensitivity, psychiatric symptoms,  attachment and caregiving and be taken?
  5. Can measures of infant physiological stress-sensitivity,  motor-cognitive and socio-emotional development be taken?

Exploration of transmission mechanisms

  1. Stress sensitivity and maternal correlates: What is the pattern of correlations between maternal antenatal psychiatric symptoms, attachment, caregiving and stress sensitivity and later maternal psychiatric symptoms, attachment and stress sensitivity?
  2. Matenal attachment, caregiving, stress-sensitivity and infant correlates: What is the pattern of associations between maternal antenatal psychiatric symptoms, attachment, caregiving and stress sensitivity and the infant’s stress sensitivity, socio-emotional and motor-cognitive development and at 1 week, 6-weeks and 16-weeks?
  3. Mother-infant interaction and correlates: What are characteristics and the correlates of mother-infant interaction at 16-weeks?
  4. Social environment and correlates: What is the pattern of correlations between social support (paternal engagement, family and network engagement, socio-economical ressources) and stress-sensitivity, mother-infant interaction, attachment and caregiving as well as infant developmental risk and resilience?