Effects of Maternal Early Life Adversity on Maternal Care and Offspring Survival in Wild Baboons
This pilot study uses the well-studied Amboseli baboon population to examine the link between maternal adversity and offspring survival, concentrating on the relationship between maternal care deficits and early life adversity in the mother’s life. The study monitors maternal responsiveness, protectiveness and attentiveness towards her offspring, and analyzes the nutritional intake of the offspring to evaluate how the mother’s early stage distress affects her offspring’s health.
At the forefront of research on the effects of early life circumstances on maternal care, the study opens new avenues for research on the intergenerational effects of early adversity. The study informs the extent to which adverse early life conditions affect the offspring of the individual who experienced the adversity, and what behavioral mechanisms link maternal early adversity to offspring outcomes. Answers to these questions are critical to understanding the functional significance of early life effects in both humans and non-human animals.