Physiological Psychology

Hello All,

Please use the following abstract to fill out the rubric according to the instructions below. I have provided an interesting, well-written abstract that has everything you need to write your post, except your perspective and evaluation of the evidence. I also provided a table with the results and converted them into percentages for ease of use. I suggest you use either percentages or ratios, but mixing units across groups is confusing. The rubric and information changed, and I added a section where you begin to evaluate the evidence. I provide some probing questions to guide you.

Please, no more quotes. These are very short written assignments. Rather than quotes, please paraphrase the authors, keeping critical terms as needed and always cite using in-text citations. Remember, every sentence reporting published conclusions, results, or method should be cited, so be concise. Cut and paste the final version into the discussion forum. Please keep the subheadings provided in the rubric. All students are expected to use spellcheck when submitting written assignments, which also checks basic grammar. Define abbreviations before using them.


A study published 10/14/19 Walsh K, McCormack CA, Webster R, Pinto A, Lee Seon, Feng T, et al., 2019. Maternal stress phenotypes associate with fetal neurodevelopment and birth outcomes. Edited by Bruce McEwen

Maternal prenatal stress phenotypes associate with fetal neurodevelopment and birth outcomes

Kate Walsh, Clare A. McCormack, Rachel Webster, Anita Pinto, Seonjoo Lee, Tianshu Feng, H. Sloan Krakovsky, Sinclaire M. O’Grady, Benjamin Tycko, Frances A. Champagne, Elizabeth A. Werner, Grace Liu, and Catherine Monk

PNAS first published October 14, 2019

Edited by Bruce S. McEwen, Rockefeller University, New York, NY, and approved September 18, 2019 (received for review April 16, 2019)


Despite decades of prenatal programming research showing that “the womb may be more important than the home” with respect to offspring health outcomes, no studies of which we are aware have considered multiple indicators of maternal stress to identify the types of maternal stress that most influence developing offspring. This study’s key contributions include the use of a data-driven procedure to specify types of maternal stress—psychological and subclinical physical health indicators—that predict offspring outcomes including sex at birth, risk of preterm birth, and fetal neurodevelopment. Social support is a key factor differentiating the stress groups and a malleable intervention target to improve offspring outcomes.


Maternal prenatal stress influences offspring neurodevelopment and birth outcomes including the ratio of males to females born; however, there is limited understanding of what types of stress matter, and for whom. Using a data-driven approach with 27 variables from questionnaires, ambulatory diaries, and physical assessments collected early in the singleton pregnancies of 187 women, 3 latent profiles of maternal prenatal stress emerged that were differentially associated with sex at birth, birth outcomes, and fetal neurodevelopment. Most women (66.8%) were in the healthy group (HG); 17.1% were in the psychologically stressed group (PSYG), evidencing clinically meaningful elevations in perceived stress, depression, and anxiety; and 16% were in the physically stressed group (PHSG) with relatively higher ambulatory blood pressure and increased caloric intake.


The population normative male:female secondary sex ratio (105:100) was lower in the PSYG (2:3) and PHSG (4:9), and higher in the HG (23:18), consistent with research showing diminished male births in maternal stress contexts. A comparison of preterm births indicates PHSG versus HG infants were born 1.5 weeks earlier (P < 0.05) with 22% compared to 5% born preterm. PHSG versus HG fetuses had decreased fetal heart rate–movement coupling (P < 0.05), which may indicate slower central nervous system development, and PSYG versus PHSG fetuses had more birth complications, consistent with previous findings among offspring of women with psychiatric illness. Social support most strongly differentiated the HG, PSYG, and PHSG groups, and higher social support was associated with increased odds of male versus female births. Stress phenotypes in pregnant women are associated with male vulnerability and poor fetal outcomes.



Please write in a copy of this rubric or apply the subheadings to your post, and complete as indicated.

Background: Write up to 2 sentences of background with no citations needed – yet: Background shouldn’t include the results being reported in this study. It can include previous research, ideas, and definitions of important terms or concepts. Please no more than 2 sentences in background.

Method: For now, provide 1 sentence of method including the experimental group comparisons & name the method/technique & cite. For example: Associative eyeblink conditioning (technique used to collect data) was measured in males versus females (experimental comparison 1), after acute stress versus control conditions (experimental comparison 2) (Wood & Shors, 1998).

Results: No more than 3 sentences describing the main effects & cite each. This should include the primary outcome for each experimental group, using the same units for each.

Conclusions: (The authors’ and your conclusions):

  • Authors’ conclusion: (1 clear and concise sentence): You can paraphrase the author’s conclusion and cite the authors.
  • Your Conclusion: Please write up to 3 sentences evaluating the study, evidence, and the validity of the authors conclusion. Use this as your guide:
    • The Good: First state the most compelling data, and what you think about it? What do you think are the implications of this work?
    • The Bad & The Ugly: Identify a weakness in this study. Every study, good and bad, has a weakness. Ask the following questions: Did the study need more subjects, controls, experimental groups, or more data points? Is the method too limited: limited subject demographics, too cost, too painful, technique not accessible, not covered by health care?
  • Are the authors’ conclusions justified, given the results?
  • Does correlation = causation here?


Walsh, K., McCormack, C.A., Webster, R., Pinto, A., Lee, S., Feng, T., et al. (2019). Maternal prenatal stress phenotypes associate with fetal neurodevelopment and birth outcomes PNAS.

EXAMPLES of In-text citations:

•        McEwen and colleagues (1999) published evidence indicating that the effects of stress can be cumulative across multiple…

•        Administration of lithium protected limbic neuroarchitecture from the effects of chronic stress on dendritic branch points and length (Wood et al., 2004).

•        Wood & Shors (1999) demonstrate that the effects of stress on learning can be influenced by gender and reproductive hormones.

Obviously, there are more ways to use in-text citations. Find what APA examples are most comfortable for you.

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