Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationYale U.
Grant numberGr. 9443
Approve DateApril 18, 2017
Project TitleWiley, Kyle S., Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Intergenerational Consequences of Interpersonal Violence: The Role of Fetal Programming,' supervised by Dr. Catherine Panter-Brick
Preliminary abstract: Anthropologists and human biologists are increasingly committed to investigating the proximate mechanisms by which prenatal stress is transmitted to the next generation and the consequences of these experiences on health. Epigenetic and hormonal programming of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis during fetal development has emerged as a potential mechanism of transmission. The existing literature on studies of prenatal stress suffers from a reliance on retrospective study designs with adolescents or adults. To better understand how such mechanisms operate during pregnancy and early development this study examines violence experienced during pregnancy as a form of prenatal stress. Violence is a global health problem that has profound effects on human wellbeing. Integrating methods from human biology and epidemiology, this study will investigate the intergenerational impacts of violence by assessing exposure to several types of interpersonal violence during the life course and pregnancy among women from SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil and the effects of such exposures on fetal and infant development. In order to investigate potential proximate mechanisms, it will track the effects of maternal experience and HPA activation during pregnancy birth outcomes, as well as infant stress reactivity and DNA methylation patterns at one year of age. In doing so, this study will help elucidate the mechanisms that link environment, experience, and health, and unpack biological mechanisms that are often neglected in anthropological and social science research.