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179. EFFECTS OF EARLY LIFE STRESS ON NULLIPAROUS WOMENS' APPROACH AND AVOIDANCE BEHAVIORS TO INFANT AND NON-SOCIAL AFFECTIVE STIMULI
Individuals exposed to early-life stress (ELS) in the form of caregiving adversity are at greater risk for providing suboptimal caregiving to their own children (Newcomb et al. 2001). Since this link has been explored in parents who experienced childhood maltreatment rather than nulliparous women, the opportunity for early intervention is limited. Study 1 addressed this issue by assessing whether fifty-seven nulliparous women’s (Mean age=19.84) responses to infant stimuli differed as a function of ELS exposure. Results indicated that individuals who experienced ELS were slower to approach infant stimuli than individuals who did not (p=.026). Data collection in Study 2 is ongoing (current n=55, target n=61) and seeks to replicate and extend these findings by examining approach and avoidance tendencies towards non-social positive and negative stimuli. Study 3 will extend this work by examining the effects of manipulating the cues prior to completing the same tasks administered in Studies 1 and 2. Overall, these studies aim to test whether ELS exposure uniquely alters tendencies towards infants. This line of work could provide an opportunity to identify and intervene in individuals who may experience difficulty adjusting to parenthood due to childhood experiences.