Early Adversity and Mental Health: Linking Extremely Low Birth Weight, Emotion Regulation, and Internalizing Disorders
Ryan J. Van Lieshout,
Louis A. Schmidt.
The experience of early adversity can increase one’s risk of psychopathology later in life. Extremely low birth
weight (ELBW) provides a unique model of early adversity that affords us the opportunity to understand how prenatal and
early postnatal stressors can affect the development of emotional, biological, and behavioural systems. Since the neuroendocrine
system and emotion regulation can both be negatively affected by exposure to early adversity, and dysregulation
in these regulatory systems has been linked to various forms of psychopathology, it is possible that these systems could
mediate and/or moderate associations between early adversity, specifically ELBW, and later internalizing disorders. In
this review, we discuss evidence of an early programming hypothesis underlying psychopathology and the identification
of neuroendocrine markers of early adversity that may mediate/moderate the development of psychopathology.
Keywords: Cortisol, early adversity, early programming, emotion regulation, birth weight, internalizing disorders, neuroendocrine,
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