Study: Pregnant women during Super Hurricane Sandy are more likely to have children with mental health issues

Study: Pregnant women during Super Hurricane Sandy are more likely to have children with mental health issues

Children who were in their mothers’ wombs during Super Hurricane Sandy had significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues as preschoolers, a newly published study finds. which included the finds of children from Long Island.

Children exposed to Sandy in utero were nearly 17 times more likely to suffer from depression and more than five times more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder than children who did not. weren’t, the researchers found.

Previous research has shown a link between maternal stress during pregnancy and the development of a child’s mental health, and it may be a key reason for high levels of certain mental health disorders, Yoko said. Nomura, professor of psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan. and Queens College, and the principal investigator of the study.

Sandy hit New York almost 10 years ago on October 29, 2012, killing 48 New Yorkers and damaging 95,000 homes and other buildings on Long Island. This resulted in massive flooding, power outages, and major disruption to the lives of Long Islanders.

“People have been uprooted” and many have faced significant financial upheaval, Normura said. Some have struggled for years to recover, she said.

A disaster of this magnitude can cause intense stress, including the production of excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which can be passed to the fetus, she said.

The study evaluated 163 children between the ages of 2 and 5, as well as their parents. The children are now 9 years old.

“We don’t have all the information about what’s been happening to them” since they were evaluated, said study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Newcorn, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine. Medicine from Mount Sinai in Manhattan. .

More research is needed on how children fare today and why for higher levels of mental health disorders when they were 2 to 5 years old, Nomura and Newcorn said.

Most of the 66 children in the study who were exposed to Sandy in utero were from Long Island or Queens. They were compared to 97 children born before Sandy or conceived after the storm.

The study was published Wednesday in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Dr James Swain, a child psychiatrist and researcher at Stony Brook University who was not involved in the study, said the findings support previous research that links maternal stress to mental health issues in children. the children.

“Unfortunately, I am not shocked” by the much higher rates of certain mental health conditions in children who were in utero during the storm and its aftermath, he said.

Nomura said stress hormones can help people cope with events like a natural disaster, but too much could be detrimental. One possible reason for the children’s mental health issues could be that too much cortisol may have been passed on to the fetus, and the same stress hormones that may have helped the mother through Sandy could potentially” backfire on the neurodevelopmental trajectory of your fetus”. she says.

The effect on fetuses could vary widely, Swain said.

“Presumably some fetuses are extremely resilient and will be exactly the same,” he said. “And there are fetuses that are relatively sensitive to the environment.”

Swain said another reason for the mental health issues could be the way the child was treated after birth. A child born after a natural disaster may be treated differently, he said.

“Being overly cautious, overprotective can have just as much downside as giving less attention or less care,” he said.

The study did not analyze whether the child of someone severely affected by Sandy was more likely to have a mental health disorder than a child of someone less severely affected. But Nomura said the severity of the impact appeared to increase the risk of mental health issues.

The study revealed huge differences in how boys and girls were affected. Boys who were in utero during Sandy were significantly more likely to have ADHD and antisocial and defiant behavior than boys who were not. Girls in utero during Sandy were significantly more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than girls who weren’t.

Part of that could be because certain mental health disorders are more common in one sex than another, Newcorn said. ADHD, for example, is more common in boys.

“It’s certainly reasonable that this pushed known sex-specific differences in ADHD in another direction,” he said. “But we don’t know. This is another great area for future investigation.

Newcorn said studying children today who were in utero during Sandy could be particularly complicated because of the mental health effects of the pandemic, as well as any other factors unrelated to Sandy.

Children who were in their mothers’ wombs during Super Hurricane Sandy had significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues as preschoolers, a newly published study finds. which included the finds of children from Long Island.

Children exposed to Sandy in utero were nearly 17 times more likely to suffer from depression and more than five times more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder than children who did not. weren’t, the researchers found.

Previous research has shown a link between maternal stress during pregnancy and the development of a child’s mental health, and it may be a key reason for high levels of certain mental health disorders, Yoko said. Nomura, professor of psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan. and Queens College, and the principal investigator of the study.

Sandy hit New York almost 10 years ago on October 29, 2012, killing 48 New Yorkers and damaging 95,000 homes and other buildings on Long Island. This resulted in massive flooding, power outages, and major disruption to the lives of Long Islanders.

WHAT THERE IS TO KNOW

  • Children who were in utero during Super Hurricane Sandy were nearly 17 times more likely to suffer from depression and more than five times more likely to suffer from anxiety disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder than children who did not. weren’t, the researchers found.

  • The study compared 66 children, most of whose mothers lived on Long Island or Queens during the October 2012 storm, with 97 children born before Sandy or conceived after.

  • Maternal stress may have been a key reason, the study’s lead researcher said. The study assessed children when they were 2 to 5 years old. Research is needed to find out how children are faring today.

“People have been uprooted” and many have faced significant financial upheaval, Normura said. Some have struggled for years to recover, she said.

A disaster of this magnitude can cause intense stress, including the production of excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which can be passed to the fetus, she said.

The study evaluated 163 children between the ages of 2 and 5, as well as their parents. The children are now 9 years old.

“We don’t have all the information about what’s been happening to them” since they were evaluated, said study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Newcorn, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine. Medicine from Mount Sinai in Manhattan. .

More research is needed on how children fare today and why for higher levels of mental health disorders when they were 2 to 5 years old, Nomura and Newcorn said.

Most of the 66 children in the study who were exposed to Sandy in utero were from Long Island or Queens. They were compared to 97 children born before Sandy or conceived after the storm.

The study was published Wednesday in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Dr James Swain, a child psychiatrist and researcher at Stony Brook University who was not involved in the study, said the findings support previous research that links maternal stress to mental health issues in children. the children.

“Unfortunately, I am not shocked” by the much higher rates of certain mental health conditions in children who were in utero during the storm and its aftermath, he said.

Nomura said stress hormones can help people cope with events like a natural disaster, but too much could be detrimental. One possible reason for the children’s mental health issues could be that too much cortisol may have been passed on to the fetus, and the same stress hormones that may have helped the mother through Sandy could potentially” backfire on the neurodevelopmental trajectory of your fetus”. she says.

The effect on fetuses could vary widely, Swain said.

“Presumably some fetuses are extremely resilient and will be exactly the same,” he said. “And there are fetuses that are relatively sensitive to the environment.”

Swain said another reason for the mental health issues could be the way the child was treated after birth. A child born after a natural disaster may be treated differently, he said.

“Being overly cautious, overprotective can have just as much downside as giving less attention or less care,” he said.

The study did not analyze whether the child of someone severely affected by Sandy was more likely to have a mental health disorder than a child of someone less severely affected. But Nomura said the severity of the impact appeared to increase the risk of mental health issues.

The study revealed huge differences in how boys and girls were affected. Boys who were in utero during Sandy were significantly more likely to have ADHD and antisocial and defiant behavior than boys who were not. Girls in utero during Sandy were significantly more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than girls who weren’t.

Part of that could be because certain mental health disorders are more common in one sex than another, Newcorn said. ADHD, for example, is more common in boys.

“It’s certainly reasonable that this pushed known sex-specific differences in ADHD in another direction,” he said. “But we don’t know. This is another great area for future investigation.

Newcorn said studying children today who were in utero during Sandy could be particularly complicated because of the mental health effects of the pandemic, as well as any other factors unrelated to Sandy.

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