Intergenerational transmission of parenting is a well-documented phenomenon with high clinical relevance, especially for the continuity of dysfunctional processes across generations. To the extreme consequences, maltreated parents seem to be more likely to be abusive than non-maltreated ones(Widom et al., 2015). However, the mechanisms that mediate the association between childhood experience and adult parenting abilities remain unclear, influencing the effectiveness of preventive interventions (Euser et al., 2015). This thesis focuses on adults’ low-level processes connected to parenting behavior and the moderating role of attachment and early care. The aim is to inform clinical interventions of the disrupted mechanisms to target in order to break the intergenerational cycle of abuse. Moving from a traditional correlational approach, we propose different quasi-experimental designs to combine the complexity of human experience with the rigorous laboratory methodology. The first part focuses on linking implicit processes implicated in parenting behaviors to individuals’ experience. In the study presented in chapter one we found that individuals form more positive attitudes toward specific parenting styles, depending on their romantic attachment styles. This confirms a role of attachment on the transmission of parenting. Chapter two builds on the known effect that maltreated adults show augmented threat detection seeing adults’ faces. The study extends these results to infants’ face processing. These two chapters confirm the role of cognitive schemata, influenced by interpersonal experiences, in mediating the continuity of parenting. The second part describes the effects on adult brain of two children characteristics considered triggers of abuse: infant negative temperament and crying. In chapter three, we developed an fMRI paradigm to assess brain activation during the view of difficult or easy babies. Difficult babies are associated to enhanced amygdala activation, but only in participants with higher scores of maltreatment and lower emotion recognition. In line with attachment theory, dysfunctional care during childhood is not enough to produce dysregulated parenting related processes, unless it is associated to lack of reflection upon emotions. In chapter four, Transcranic Magnetic Stimulation has been used in a pilot study to show the roles of Inferior Frontal Gyrus and maltreatment in modulating the expression of physical force in response to infant crying. In both fMRI and TMS studies, we found that different brain susceptibility to infant stimuli represents a mechanism for parenting continuity. The last part aims at rejoining the empirical approaches of the first chapters within a broader literature review on the neurophysiological mechanisms of transmission of parenting. In chapter five the effects of early stress and attachment representations on parenting processes are discussed in light of the modern evolutionary framework. An original perspective on adult emotion regulation as the primary mechanism of parenting transmission is proposed. Consequences on interventions aimed at reducing risk of maltreatment are discussed.
(2016). Psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of dysfunctional parenting. (Tesi di dottorato, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, 2016).
PAROLIN, LAURA ANTONIA LUCIA
|Data di pubblicazione:||29-feb-2016|
|Titolo:||Psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of dysfunctional parenting|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||M-PSI/07 - PSICOLOGIA DINAMICA|
|Scuola di dottorato:||Scuola di Dottorato in Psicologia e Scienze Cognitive|
|Corso di dottorato:||PSICOLOGIA SOCIALE, COGNITIVA E CLINICA - 63R|
|Citazione:||(2016). Psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of dysfunctional parenting. (Tesi di dottorato, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, 2016).|
|Parole Chiave (Inglese):||Parenting; Attachment; Maltreatment; fMRI; TMS|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||07 - Tesi di dottorato Bicocca post 2009|