Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

The 3Generation study: Stress and Emotions in a Family Context

What is the role of neuronal emotional reactivity in the intergenerational transmission of abuse?

Research demonstrates that forms of parenting are transmitted from one generation to the next. However, it is not clear how this transmission occurs and which factors play a role in this intergenerational transmission. Is this transmission mainly genetic, or is it caused by specific interaction patterns within families, or by a combination of both? A family study including multiple generations gives us the opportunity to investigate this transmission in detail and to find out under which circumstances transmission will or will not occur.  From each family, three generations (grandparents, parents and children) are invited to participate. In our lab different measurements are carried out, for example fMRI, physiological reactivity during several tasks, computer tasks with regard to emotions and cognitions, interaction tasks between family members, a diagnostic interview and various different questionnaires. Within this study I am focusing on the role of neuronal emotional reactivity in the intergeneration transmission of abuse.
                A second line of research is involved with the role of life events and traumatic events in the development of PTSD. A third line of research is involved with trauma and the implicit reactions towards parents. How do people react when they see familiar versus unfamiliar persons and which factors influence this reaction? To investigate this an Approach Avoidance Task is being used.

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