University of Calgary, Dept. of Pediatrics
Dr. Giesbrecht received his doctorate in developmental psychology. His research focuses on the psychobiology of stress and how social relationships disrupt (or protect against) the negative effects of stress. He is interested in the ways that social and stress exposures alter developmental trajectories. In a series of studies with pregnant women, he is investigating the effects of prenatal stress on the development of self-regulation in infants and young children. His work employs a variety of psychological and psychophysiological measures to characterize stress exposure as well as stress reactivity. Dr. Giesbrecht is particularly interested in the biological means by which stress signals are transmitted from the mother to the fetus in utero and how postnatal care of the infant may alter the effects of prenatal exposure. The ultimate goal of this research is to identify what kind of stress, at what level of intensity, during which period of development, for which individuals, and for what duration of exposure is associated with adverse obstetric and developmental outcomes and what kinds of postnatal interventions can be used to ameliorate these effects.