About the Lab

In the Stress Processes in Pregnancy Lab Prof. Dunkel Schetter and collaborators                      examine various aspects of prenatal maternal stress including stress exposures, emotional responses, and appraisals of stress and their effects on preterm birth and low birthweight. This program of research involves prospective  longitudinal studies of thousands of              pregnant women of diverse race and ethnicity and socioeconomic status including low    income, Hispanic and African American women. The lab has also focused on unique risk and resilience factors and mechanisms involving African American and Latina women and preventive interventions.

Prof. Dunkel Schetter and associates have documented that prenatal anxiety reliably              predicts time of gestation and that corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) is involved in the mechanisms responsible for earlier births. In addition, we have examined the HPA axis in pregnancy and published findings involving levels of ACTH and cortisol as well as CRH at various times in pregnancy, and as significant correlates of self-report psychological measures. 

For the past ten or more years Prof. Dunkel Schetter has been engaged in work with the NICHD funded Community Child Health Network (CCHN) that conducted a community          collaborative national study on SES and racial/ethnic disparities in maternal and child health, which focused on fathers as well as mothers. This work has yielded many papers on a large range of topics emphasizing mothers and fathers of color and of low income. (See Projects for a full list)

A follow-up study of a portion of the CCHN cohort led by Prof. Dunkel Schetter examined children of a subsequent birth and their mothers permitting examination of preconception maternal factors predicting birth and early child outcomes. That work along with another    cohort study (Healthy Babies Before Birth/HB3) in Los Angeles and Denver include                  consideration of neuroendocrine, immune, epigenetic, and gene expression processes in    maternal child outcomes.(See Projects)


Latest Publications:

Galley, J.D., Mashburn-Warren, L., Blalock, L.C., Lauber, C.L, Carroll, J.E., Ross, K.M., Hobel, C., Coussons-Read, M., Dunkel Schetter, C., Gur, T.L. (in press). Maternal anxiety, depression, and stress affects offspring gut microbiome diversity and bifidobacterial abundances. Brain Behavior and Immunity.

Carroll, J. E., Price, J. E., Brown, J., Bamishigbin, O., Shalowitz, M. U., Ramey, S., & Dunkel Schetter, C. (2022). Lifetime discrimination in low to middle income mothers and cellular aging: A prospective analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 115356. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115356

Guardino, C. M., Rahal, Rinne, G. R., Mahrer, N. E., Davis E. P., Shalowitz, E., Ramey, S. L., & Dunkel Schetter, C. (2022). Maternal stress and mental health before pregnancy and offspring diurnal cortisol in early childhood. Developmental Psychobiology. 64, e22314. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.22314

Rinne, G.R., Somers, J.A., Ramos, I.F., Ross, K.M., Coussons-Read, M., Dunkel Schetter, C. (2022). Increases in maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy and infant              cortisol reactivity: Mediation by placental corticotropin-releasing hormone. Development and Psychopathology. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0954579422000621

Dunkel Schetter, C., Rahal, D., Ponting, C., Julian, M., Ramos, I., Hobel, C., Coussons-Read, M. (2022). Anxiety in pregnancy and length of gestation: Findings from the Healthy Babies Before Birth Study. Health Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0001210 

Ramos, I.F., Ross, K.M., Rinne, G. R., Somers, J. A., Mancuso, R. A., Hobel, C.J., Coussons-Read, M., & Dunkel Schetter, C. (2022). Pregnancy anxiety, placental corticotropin-releasing hormone and length of gestation. Biological Psychology. 172, Article 108376. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2022.108376

Ramos, I. F., Campos, B., & Dunkel Schetter, C. (2022). Pregnancy anxiety and beliefs.            surrounding motherhood in Latinas: A qualitative study. Journal of Latinx Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/lat0000208

Rinne, G. R., Davis, E. P., Mahrer, N. E., Guardino, C. M., Charalel, J. M., Shalowitz, M. U., Ramey, S. L., & Dunkel Schetter, C. D. (2022). Maternal depressive symptom trajectories from preconception through postpartum: Associations with offspring developmental.            outcomes in early childhood. Journal of Affective Disorders.

Guardino, C., & Dunkel Schetter, C. (2022). Subjective social status and allostatic load in mothers 1 year after birth. Health Psychology, 41(3), 235-241. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0001148

Swales, D., Davis, E. P., Mahrer, N., Guardino, C., Shalowitz, M. U., Ramey, S. L., & Dunkel Schetter, C. (2022). Preconception maternal post-traumatic stress and child negative.              affectivity: Prospectively evaluating the intergenerational impact of trauma. Development and Psychopathology, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579421001760

Ponting, C., Urizar, G.G., Dunkel Schetter, C., (2022). Psychological interventions for                prenatal anxiety in Latinx and Black adults: A scoping review and recommendations. Frontiers in Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.820343