ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (1): 128-140.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00128

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Effects of maternal stress on maternal behavior and psychological function

YANG Yu, LI Ming(), CHEN Hong()   

  1. Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2019-04-12 Online:2020-01-15 Published:2019-11-21
  • Contact: LI Ming,CHEN Hong;


Transition to motherhood can be a challenging time in a woman’s life, during which she may experience numerous physiological and psychological changes. These normal adaptations, which are essential for the survival and health of the mother and offspring, may be disrupted by maternal stress. Maternal stress can impair maternal behavior, cognitive function and emotional regulation in human mothers and female animals. These disruptive effects are related to the dysregulation of endocrine systems such as glucocorticoids, oxytocin and prolactin, and changes of neurological responses to stimuli involving the maternal circuitry, limbic system and prefrontal cortex. Maternal stress could also impair maternal behavior and psychological function by altering the plasticity of neurogenesis, dendrite and synaptic remodeling.

Key words: maternal stress, maternal behavior, cognitive function, emotional regulation

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