Integrating Neuroscience and Psychological Approaches in the Study of Early Experiences

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Rodent maternal separation and primate rearing environment paradigms demonstrate that early disturbances in caregiving that sensitize stress-responsive neurocircuits may play a role in the etiology of mood disorders. Psychosocial studies document the importance of adverse early experiences in the risk for psychopathology. The time is ripe for integrating the animal neuroscience and human psychosocial research on early experiences and stress. Based on work by the National Institute of Mental Health Early Experience, Stress Neurobiology & Prevention Science research network, findings in the human literature that are consistent with those in animal models are reviewed. In addition, however, anomalous findings and the challenge they pose in translating the basic neuroscience findings to human development are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-247
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 2003


  • Adverse environments
  • Caregiving
  • Early experience
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Negative emotionality
  • Stress
  • Translational research


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