Psychophysiological Resilience: A Theoretical Construct Based on Threat Perception and Early Programming of Restorative and Arousal Based Adaptive Mechanisms

Issue: 
Publication Date: 
03/2003
Page Count: 
16
Starting Page: 
235
Price: $10.00
Abstract: 

Why can some people be exposed to toxins, stressors, or traumatic events and be significantly less affected than others? The author conducts a review of research, constructs a theoretical model psychophysiological resilience, and examines the impact of prenatal and early childhood events on the formation of neural regulatory circuits. Psychophysiological resilience involves psychological, physiological, emotional, and spiritual resilience. Research is cited to support the theory that events occurring during gestation and birth offer clues to sustained adaptive programming that supports species preservation. Research relating the impacts of adaptive vs. maladaptive neurodevelopmental programming on currently relevant issues including psychosocial violence, functional intelligence, and somatic disease processes is cited. Emerging research on the role of the heart and the use of guided imagery and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback in rebuilding physiological and emotional adaptive processes of resilience is articulated.

References: 

Barker, D. (1995). Exposure to invasive procedures in neonatal intensive care unit admissions. Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 72(1), F47-48.

Barker, D. (2001). Birthweights, maternal cardiovascular events, and Barker hypothesis. The Lancet, 357(9273), 1990-1991.

Barker, D., Eriksson, J., Forsen, T., Tuomilehto, J. & Osmond, C. (2001). Early growth and coronary heart disease in later life: Longitudinal study. British Journal of Medicine, 322, 949-953.

Barker, D., Gluckman, P., & Robinson, J. (1995). Conference report: Fetal origins of adult disease. Placenta, 16(3), 317-320.

Benson, H. (1975). The relaxation response. New York: Avon Books.

Bhat, N., & Bhat, K. (1999). Anger control using biofeedback: A clinical model for heart patients. Biofeedback Newsmagazine, 27(4), 15-17.

Bower, G. (1992). How might emotions affect memory. In S. Christianson (Ed.), Handbook of emotion and memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Bowlby, J. (1977). The making and breaking of affectional bonds: I. Etiology and psychopathology in the light of attachment theory. British Journal of Psychiatry, 130, 201-210.

Cannon, W. (1932). The wisdom of the body. New York: W.W. Norton.

Cantin, M., & Genest, J. (1986). The heart as an endocrine gland. Clinical Investigative Medicine, 9, 319-327.

Cantin, M., & Genest, J. (1986b). The heart as an endocrine gland. Scientific American, 254, 76.

Chamberlain, D. (1987). The cognitive newborn: A scientific update. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(1), 30-71.

Chamberlain, D. (1995). What babies are teaching us about violence. Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Journal, 10(2), 57-74.

Cheek, D. (1974). Sequential head and shoulder movements appearing with age-regression in hypnosis to birth. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 16, 261-266.

Cheek, D. (1975). Maladjustment patterns apparently related to imprinting at birth. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 18(2), 75-82.

Childre, D., & Martin, H. (1999). The HeartMath Solution (1st ed.). San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Coplan, J., Andrews, M., & Rosenblum, L. (1996). Persistent elevations of cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of corticotrophin-releasing factor in adult nonhuman primates exposed to early-life stressors: Implications for the pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 93, (1,619-1,623).

Coplan, J., Rosenblum L., & German J. (1995). Primate models of anxiety: Longitudinal perspectives. Pediatric Clinicians of North America, 18, 727-743.

Costello, R. (Ed.). (1993). The American Heritage College Dictionary (3rd ed.). Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Courchesene, E., Chisum, H., & Townsend, J. (1994). Neural activity-dependent brain changes in development: implication for psychopathology. Developmental Psychopathology, 6, 697-722.

Cox, T. (1978). Stress. Baltimore, MD: University Park Press.

Damasio, A. (1999). The feeling of what happens. Orlando, FL: Harcourt.

David, H., Dytryeh, Z., Matefeek, Z., & Schuller, V. (1988). Born unwanted: Developmental effects of denied abortion. New York: Springer.

DePietro, J. (1996). Fetal neurobehavioral development. Child Development, 67(5), 2553-2567.

Ekbom, A., Tiechopoulos, D., Adami, H., Hsieh, C., & Lan, S. (1992, October 24). Evidence of prenatal influences on breast cancer risk Lancet, 340, 1015-1018.

Feldmar, A. (1979). The embryology of consciousness: What is a normal pregnancy? In D. Mall & W. Watts, (Eds.), The psychological aspects of abortion (pp. 15-24). Washington DC: University Publications of America.

Franselow, M. & Lester, L. (1988). A functional behavioristic approach to aversively motivated behavior: Predatory imminence as a determinant of the topography of defensive behavior. In R. J. M. Beecher (Ed.), Evolution and learning (pp. 185-212). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Ginsberg, H. (1974). Controlled vs. noncontrolled termination of the immobility response in domestic fowl (Gallus): Parallels with the learned helplessness phenomenon. Unpublished manuscript.

Gunnar, R., & Barr, R. (1998). Stress, early brain development, and behavior. Infants and Young Children, 11(1), 1-14.

Ham, J., & Klimo, J. (2001). Fetal awareness of maternal emotional states during pregnancy. Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, 15, 118-146.

Harlow, H. (1958). The nature of love. American Psychologist, 13, 673-685.

Hofer, M. (1970). Cardiac and respiratory function during sudden prolonged immobility in wild rodents. Psychosomatic Medicine, 32, 633-647.

House, J., Landis, K., & Umberson, D. (1988). Social relationships and health. Science, 241, 540-545.

House, J., Robbins, C., & Metzner, H. (1982). The association of social relationships and activities with mortality: Prospective evidence from the Tecumseh Community Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 116, 123-140.

Kandel, E., & Mednick, S. (1991). Perinatal complications predict violent offending. Criminology, 29(3), 519-529.

Kennell, J., Trause, M., & Klaus, M. (1975). Evidence for a sensitive period in the human mother. Ciba Foundation Symposium, 33, 87-101.

Kentsch, M., Lawrenz, R., & Ball, P. (1992). Effects of atrial natriuretic factor on anterior pituitary hormone secretion in normal man. Clinical Investigator, 70, 549555.

Klaus, M. (1998). Mother and infant: Early emotional ties. Pediatrics, 102(5, Suppl. E), 1244-1246.

Lacey, J., & Lacey, B. (1978, February). Two-way communication between the heart and the brain: Significance of time within the cardiac cycle. American Psychologist, 99-113.

LeDoux, J. (1996). The emotional brain: The mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Levine, P. (1997). Waking the tiger. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Lewis, D., Shanok, S., Pincus, J., & Glaser, G. (1979). Violent juvenile delinquents: Psychiatric, neurological, psychological, and abuse factors. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 18, 307-319.

Magid, K., & McKelvey, C. (1988). High risk: Children without conscience. New York: Bantam Books.

Manrique, B., Contasti, M., Alvaredo, M., Zypman, M., Palma, N., Jerrobino, M., & Carini, D. (1993). Nurturing parents to stimulate their children from prenatal stage to three years of age. In T. Blum (Ed.), Prenatal perception, learning, and bonding (pp. 153-186). Berlin, Hong-Kong: Leonardo.

McCraty R., & Atkinson, M. (1996). Head-heart entrainment: A preliminary survey. Paper presented at the Brain-mind Applied Neurophysiology EEG Neurofeedback meeting, Key West, FL.

McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., & Tiller, W. (1995). The effects of emotion on short term heart rate variability using power spectrum analysis. American Journal of Cardiology, 76, 1089-1093.

McEwen, B. (1993). Stress and the individual mechanisms leading to disease. Archives of Internal Medicine, 153, 2093-2101.

McEwen, B. (1998). Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine, 338(3), 171-179.

Nathanielsz, P. (1996). Fetal and neonatal environment has influence on brain development. Lancet, 347, 8997.

Ornish, D., Brown, S., Scherwitz, L., Billings, J., Armstrong, W., & Ports, T., et al. (1990). Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The Lancet, 336, 129-133.

Paneth, N. (1999). Classifying brain damage in preterm infants. Journal of Pediatrics, 134, 527-529.

Papez, J. (1937). A proposed mechanism of emotion. Archives of Neurological Psychology, 38, 725-743.

Pasamanick, B. (1956). Pregnancy experience and the development of behavior disorders in children. American Journal of Psychiatry, 112, 613-617.

Perry, B. (1994). Neurobiological sequelae of childhood trauma: PTSD in children. In M. Murburg (Ed.), Catecholamine function in posttraumatic stress disorder: Emerging concepts (pp. 233-255). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.

Pert, C., Dreher, H., & Ruff, M. (1998). The psychosomatic network: Foundations of mind-body medicine. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 4(4), 30-41.

Porges, S. (1983). Heart rate patterns in neonates: a potential diagnostic window to the brain. In T. Field, & Sostek, A. (Ed.), Infants born at risk: Physiological, Perceptual, and Cognitive Processes (pp. 3-22). Philadelphia: Grune & Stratton.

Porges, S. (1995). Orienting in a defensive world: Mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A polyvagal theory. Psychophysiology, 32, 301-318.

Prescott, J. (1995). The origins of human love and violence. Newport Beach, CA: Institute of Humanistic Science.

Pribram, K. (1984). Emotions: a neurobehavioral analysis. In K. E. Scherer (Ed.), Approaches to emotion. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Pribram, K. (1991). Brain and perception. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Pribram, K., & McGuinness, D. (1975). Arousal activation and effort in the control of attention. Psychological Review, 82(2), 116-149.

Raine, A., Brennan, P., & Mednick, S. (1994). Birth complications combined with early maternal refection at age one year predispose to violent crime at age 18 years. Archives of General Psychiatry, 51, 984-988.

Raine, A., Brennan, P., & Mednick, S. (1997). Interaction between birth complications and early maternal rejection in predisposing individuals to adult violence: Specificity to serious, early-onset violence. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 154(9), 1265-1271.

Richter, C. (1957). On the phenomenon of sudden death in animals and man. Psychosomatic Medicine, 19, 191-198.

Righard, L. (1992). (Content author) Delivery self attachment [Video]. Sunland, CA: Geddes Productions.

Sandman, C., Wadhwa, P., Chicz-DeMet, A., Porto, M., & Garite, T. (1999). Maternal corticotrophin-releasing hormone and habituation in the human fetus. Developmental Psychobiology, 34, 163-173.

Scaer, R. (2001). The neurophysiology of dissociation and chronic disease. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 26(1), 73-91.

Schore, A. (2000). Attachment and the regulation of the right brain. Attachment and Human Development, 2(1), 23-47.

Schore, A. (2001). Effects of a secure attachment relationship on right brain development, affect regulation, and infant mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal, 22(1), 7-66.

Seligman, M. (1992). Helplessness: On depression, development and death. New York: W. H. Freeman.

Sheridan, C., & Radmacher, S. (1992). Health psychology challenging the biomedical model. New York; Chichester, West Susssex, UK; Brisbane, Australia; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Singapore: Jon Wiley & Sons.

Stiefel, G., Plunkett, J., & Meisels, S. (1987). Affective expression among pre-term infants of varying levels of biological risk. Infant Behavior and Development, 10(2), 151-164.

Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B.P., Gruenewald, T.L., Gurung, R.A., & Updegraff, J.A. (2000). Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: Tend-an-befriend, not fightor-flight. Psychological "Review, 707(3), 411-429.

Trichopoulos, D. (1990). Hypothesis: Does breast cancer originate in utero. Lancet, 335, 939-940.

Uvnas-Moberg, K. (1997). Oxytocin linked antistress effects: The relaxation and growth response. Acta-Physiologica Scandinavica Supplementum, 640, 38-42.

Uvnas-Moberg, K. (1998). Oxytocin may mediate the benefits of positive social interaction and emotions. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 23(8), 819-835.

Wallston, B., Alagna, S., DeVallis, B., & DeVallis, R. (1983). Social support and physical health. Health Psychology, 2, 367-391.

Wang, X., Zhang, B., & Zhang, B. (2001). Long-term effect of earthquake on fetal cognitive function. Chinese Mental Health Journal, 15(1), 42-43.

Wickramasekera, I. (1988). Clinical behavioral medicine. New York: Plenum Press.

Wickramasekera, I. (1998). Secrets kept from the mind but not the body or behavior: The unsolved problems of identifying and treating somatization and psychophysiological disease. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, 14, 81-98.

Dorothy Marie Mandel, M.A.

Dorothy Marie Mandel, M.A. and doctoral student of Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, currently works as a Psychological Assistant at the Erickson Institute in Santa Rosa, California. Please address correspondence about this article to: birthbus@pacbell.net or (707) 542-2439.