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Stress Regulation as a Mediator of Health and Adaptation

Linda Mayes, M.D.
Arnold Fesell Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology at Yale Child Study Center, Faculty Member, Yale University

Will we become our parents? In this talk, Dr. Linda Mayes presents research on stress, developmental theory and parenting styles. She describes the attachment system as a stress-regulatory system, and focuses on the intergenerational cycle of dysregulation in stress-reward circuitry. Combining neuropsychology and psychoanalytic approaches, Dr. Mayes explains 1) the developmental importance of neural circuitry in stress and reward regulation, 2) the neural circuitry of early parenting, 3) how early parenting impacts emotional and stress regulatory systems, 4) how early stress affects later stress regulation, and 5) describes implications this research has for interventions. She concludes that early parenting is key because early abuse and/or neglect increases the risk for inbalance between stress-reward systems, therefore increasing the risk of impaired parenting as well as a range of disorders and chronic health problems.