In this issue of the journal a couple of interesting trends are emerging. Interest in the long-term effects of what goes on developmentally from the prenatal period through early childhood is growing, though this has long been a focus of attention to this discipline in adults. The invitation to publish extended to new scholars is another. On the other hand, a constant since the inception of this journal for which we are deeply grateful is the contribution from scientists and authors from around the globe. This issue of the journal is no exception, as authors come from Japan, Canada, Scotland, and the United States.
In our lead article the journal is a scientifically rigorous contribution by Drs. Tsujino and Oyama-Higa of Japan. Studied was the relationship between the emotional intelligence of 65 mothers and problem behaviors in their young children. Of special interest here is that the initial phase of research began when the child was a fetus, and also investigated at 2, 3, 4 and 5 years of age as well. The article is entitled The Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence of Mothers and Problem Behavior in their Young Children: A Longitudinal Analysis. The result of this study demonstrated a relationship between certain areas of emotional intelligence of the mothers and problem behavior in their children, in particular, if the mother herself had been a victim of violence.
We are also grateful for the work of Dr. Wendy Hall and Dr. Bonita Long of Vancouver, Canada in their article, Relations among Prenatal Role Quality, Life Satisfaction, and Dual-Earner Parents' Postnatal Depression. Noting that relations between prenatal role quality and dual-earner parents' postnatal depression had been rarely studied, they authored a prospective study examining the relationship of these variables. Ninety-nine couples participated when they were between 20 and 40 weeks gestation and 8 and 10 postnatal weeks. The results indicated that poorer role quality and less life satisfaction were associated with increased postnatal depression, after controlling for prenatal depression, age, and gender.
Authors Thanos Karatzias, PhD, Zoë Chouliara, PhD, Fiona Maxton, PhD, Yvonne Freer, PhD, and Kevin Power, PhD have collaborated and produced a very well-written and scholarly review on the topic of post-traumatic symptomatology in parents with premature infants. Recognizing that emotional distress can accompany the experience of giving birth to a preterm infant, studies on parental posttraumatic symptomatology were reviewed to find this to be a common experience. A critique of the five main studies reviewed in this topic area is offered as well as recommendations for future research.
Doctoral student, Holly Goldberg, along with her instructor at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, Dr. Thomas Verny, offer their article, The Potential Risks of Ultrasound Examinations on Fetal Development. Commonly used ultrasound procedures during prenatal visits are identified as needing to be studied for the possible risk factors present. This review of what is known about the standards of practice suggests that ultrasound examinations may not be totally benign for the fetus. A discussion of the potential physical, behavioral, and psychological health risks are also offered.
Another collaborative effort between Dr. Verny and doctoral student, Stephanie Foster, follows next. This paper takes a close look at the seven senses that are documented as beginning during the prenatal period. Ms. Foster's education, training, and profession experience in the field of Occupational Therapy adds depth and breath to the more familiar descriptions of the senses that focus on the five senses. In addition to prenates being able to hear, to see, to taste, to smell and touch, the two other capabilities are proprioception (the body's position sense) and the vestibular system that helps the body respond to movement of the head and body in relation to gravity. The article is entitled, The Development of Sensory Systems During the Prenatal Period, which closes with this recommendation, "On the basis of this knowledge clinicians will be better able to promote more peaceful as well as enriched prenatal environments and plan interventions for children at risk for later developmental difficulties."
Sending and Receiving: Biochemical Communication of Emotions Between Prenate and Mother: A Call for Early Intervention is a position paper and literature review that was part of the capstone project for Ms. Frances McCulloch Doughty's Master's degree from Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Pursuing her studies toward a PhD at the Fielding Graduate University, Ms. Doughty reviews the evidence for prenatal biochemical communication, and calls for prenatal intervention for at-risk dyads for mothers with depression and PTSD. The review also discusses that "the development of the self starts prenatally and is continuous and incremental" with biochemicals transmitting emotional communications between the prenate and the mother, mediated by the placenta.
I close with a personal view, namely, that the most rewarding task I have in working on the Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health is to be able to peruse the cutting-edge, original ideas offered by our authors and graduate students. The contributors in this issue of the journal are no exception. Clearly they are dedicated to the process of thinking critically and using the scientific principles to investigate the cherished principles that prenatal and perinatal professionals hold so dear.