Canterbury Child Development Research Group

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The Canterbury Child Development Research Group (CCDRG) is a multidisciplinary research team based at UC. The group investigates critical child development issues concerned with early developmental risks, brain development, parenting and family functioning.

The Canterbury Child Development Research Group (CCDRG) is a multidisciplinary research team based at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. The group led by Professor Lianne J. Woodward investigates critical child development issues concerned with early developmental risks, brain development, parenting and family functioning.

Our research focus

  • Neurodevelopmental outcomes of infants born very preterm
  • Neurodevelopmental outcomes of infants exposed to methadone during pregnancy
  • Childhood exposure to family violence and later parenting risks

Areas of expertise within the group

  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Developmental neuropsychology
  • Longitudinal research methods
  • Neonatal nursing
  • Paediatrics
  • Studies largely employ a multi-method approach spanning:
  • Neuroimaging (diffusion tensor imaging, functional connectivity, structural magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Neuropsychological evaluation
  • Paediatric clinical examination
  • Parental interview
  • Teacher report

Collaborations

The research group maintains close collaborative working relationships with other researchers based at:

  • Christchurch Women's Hospital (New Zealand)
  • Harvard Medical School, Boston (USA)
  • School of Medicine, University of Auckland (New Zealand)
  • University of Melbourne (Australia)
  • University of Otago, Christchurch (New Zealand)
  • University of Otago, Dunedin (New Zealand)
  • Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis (USA)

Facilities

We have a fully equipped child development facility with a no-slip ramp for safe wheel-chair and pram access, kitchen facilities, toilet, and baby changing area. We have one-way mirrors, discreet video cameras, and a computerized direct observation data capture-analysis system. We currently use a version of VideoScribe for coding observational data and to analyze early social-communication behaviors. We have a large collection of contemporary neuropsychological, educational, and neuromotor measures, as well as good access to other measures through our university library.

As part of our research partnership with the New Zealand Brain Research Institute we have research access to a 3 Tesla General Electric HDx MRI scanner. In addition, the group has a modern office suite in the Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, with full access to computing, internet, and telecommunication facilities.

Current research

Neuroanatomical and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Children Born Very Preterm
This is a prospective longitudinal study of a regional cohort of 110 children born very preterm (<33 weeks gestation) and 113 full term comparison children born at Christchurch Women’s Hospital from November 1998 to December 2000. The specific aims of this study are:

  • to describe the behavioral, cognitive, educational, health, and motor development of children born very preterm
  • to examine the extent to which risks of later adverse outcomes can be explained by neurological factors associated with very preterm birth, and postnatal family and socio-environmental experiences.

To address these aims, study children have been assessed at birth/term, 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 12 years of age. The 12 year data analysis is currently in progress. Children have been assessed on a wide range of measures including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), neurological examination, neurosensory evaluation, neuropsychological evaluation, parent interview, as well as direct observation.

Effects of Prenatal Drug Exposure

Effects of Prenatal Drug Exposure on Infant Brain Development and Neurobehavioral Outcome.

This study is concerned with the effects of prenatal drug exposure to methadone, (a synthetic opiate) on the neuroanatomical and neurobehavioral development of children born to mothers enrolled in the Methadone Maintenance Programme during pregnancy. Currently, there are no scientifically established protocols to guide clinicians in the appropriate and safe use of methadone during pregnancy. Furthermore, the effects of prenatal methadone exposure on fetal and infant development are poorly understood and remain equivocal. The aims of this study are to examine, using advanced research methodologies, the effects of prenatal methadone exposure on infant brain development, health, and neurobehavior at term equivalent age, 18 months, 2 years, and 4.5 years of age. We are now on to the 9 years of age assessments. Of particular interest is the effect of maternal methadone dose on infant clinical, neuroanatomical, and neurobehavioral outcomes.

Life course outcomes

Adult Preterm Follow-up Study of National Cohort of Very Low Birth Weight Infants at 23 years of Age.

This is a cross sectional study of the life course outcomes of a national cohort of young adults born very preterm in New Zealand during 1986. Using interview methods, the goal of this study is to provide information about the educational, health, mental health, occupational, and social outcomes by young adulthood of these young people relative to their same age peers.

Childhood Exposure to Family Violence and Later Parenting Risk

The is a 30 year prospective longitudinal study of a birth cohort of young New Zealanders born over a 4 month period during 1977. This study is concerned with the effects of childhood exposure to family violence on an individual's later parenting attitudes and behavior towards their own children. The aims of the study are:

  • to document associations between family violence and later adult parenting attitudes and behaviors
  • to examine possible explanatory and mediational processes giving rise to these associations
  • to identify resiliency or protective processes that may buffer individuals with abusive and/or violent childhood histories from experiencing later parenting problems when caring for their own children.

Study findings will contribute to our understanding of why some parents are at an elevated risk of problematic parenting, as well as being of valuable assistance in the development of intervention strategies aimed at breaking intergenerational cycles of poor mental health and social functioning. This study is being conducted in collaboration with the Christchurch Health and Development Study.

Principle investigators  
  Professor Lianne Woodward, Adjunct
Principal Investigator
Director of Infant & Child Development Research, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
Email: Lianne Woodward
  Dr Jacki Henderson
UoC Lecturer
Lead Researcher
  Marie Goulden
Research Coordinator
  Karelia Levin
Clinical Psychologist
  Carol Spencer
Research Nurse Specialist
  Kirsten Ritchie
Doctoral Candidate
  Samudragupta (Sam) Bora
Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  Samantha Lee
Doctoral Candidate
  Rachel Lean
Doctoral Candidate
  Dr Alison Gray, Clinical Psychologist
  Dr Tracy Melzer, New Zealand Brain Research Institute

Research collaborators

 
  Dr Nicola Austin
Neonatal Service, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand
  Professor Terrie Inder
Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
  Dr Stephanie Moor
University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
  Professor Kristine Walhovd
University of Oslo, Norway
  Professor Simon Warfield
Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
  Dr Trecia Wouldes
University of Auckland School of Medicine, New Zealand

2014

Pritchard VE, Bora S, Austin NC, Karelia J. Levin, Woodward LJ. (2014). Identifying Very Preterm Children at Educational Risk Using a School Readiness Framework. JAMA Pediatrics Volume 134, Number 3, e825-832 September 2014 doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-1536

Pritchard VE & Montgomery-Hönger A. (2014). A comparison of parent and staff perceptions of setting-specific and everyday stressors encountered by parents with very preterm infants experiencing neonatal intensive care. Early Human Development, 90(2014), 549–555.

Woodward, L.J., Bora, S., Clark, C.A.C., Montgomery-Honger, A., Pritchard, V.E., Spencer C & Austin, N. (2014). Very Preterm Birth: Maternal Experiences of the Neonatal Intensive Care Environment. Journal of Perinatology, 1-7. advance online publication, March 20, 2014; doi:10.1038/jp.2014.43

Bora, S., Pritchard, V. E., Chen, Z., Inder, T. E. and Woodward, L. J. (2014), Neonatal cerebral morphometry and later risk of persistent inattention/hyperactivity in children born very preterm. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55, 828-838. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12200.

Kidokoro, H., Anderson, P.J., Doyle, L., Woodward, L.J., Neil, J.J., & Inder, T.E. (2014 - in press). The nature of brain injury and altered brain growth in preterm infants: Predictors and prognosis. Pediatrics.

Clark, C.A.C & Woodward, L.J. (2014 – in press). Relation of perinatal risk and early parenting to executive control during the transition to school. Developmental Science.

2013

Lean, R.E., Pritchard, V.E., & Woodward, L.J. (2013 – in press). Child protection and out- of- home placement experiences of preschool children born to mothers enrolled in methadone maintenance treatment during pregnancy. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(11), 1878-1885.

Woodward, L.J., Friesen, M.D., Raudino, A., Fergusson, D.M., & Horwood, L.J. (2014). Intergenerational changes in the context of early motherhood. Journal of Family Studies, 19(3), 306-314.

Raudino, A., Fergusson, D.M., Woodward, L.J., & Horwood L.J. (2013). The intergenerational transmission of conduct problems. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 48, 456-476.

Friesen, M.D., Woodward, L.J., Horwood, L.J., & Fergusson, D.M. (2013). Quality of Parent-Child Relations in Adolescence and Later Adult Parenting Outcomes. Social Development, 22, 539-554.

Jones, K.M., Champion, P.R. &, Woodward, L.J. (2013). Social competence of preschool children born very preterm. Early Human Development, 89(10), 795-802. Online first July 17: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2013.06.008.

Davie-Gray, A., Spencer, C., Moor, S., & Woodward, L.J. (2013). Psychosocial characteristics and poly-drug use of pregnant women enrolled in methadone maintenance treatment. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 38, 46-52.

Wouldes, T.A. & Woodward, L.J. (2013 – in press). Maternal methadone dose during pregnancy and infant clinical outcome: Response to O’Grady et al. Neurotoxicology and Teratology.

Darlow, B., Horwood, L.J., & Woodward, L.J. (2013). Psychosocial outcomes of young adults born very low birth weight. Pediatrics, 132 (6), e1521-e1528.

2012

Raudino, A., Woodward, L.J., Fergusson, D.M., & Horwood, L.J., (2012). Childhood conduct problems are associated with increased partnership and parenting difficulties in adulthood. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40(2), 251-263.

Walhovd, K.B., Inge, Watts, R., & Woodward, L.J. (2012). Neural tract development of infants born to methadone-maintained mothers. Pediatric Neurology, 47(1), 1-6.

Woodward, L.J., Clark, C.A.C., Bora, S. & Inder, T.E. (2012). Neonatal white matter abnormalities an important predictor of neurocognitive outcome for very preterm children. PLoS ONE, 7(12):e51879. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051879. Epub 2012 Dec 28.

Daly, F.M., Hughes, R.N., & Woodward, L.J. (2012). Subsequent anxiety-related behavior in rats exposed to low-dose methadone during gestation, lactation or both periods consecutively. Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 102(2), 381-389.

2011

Bora, S., Pritchard, V. E., Moor, S., Austin, N. C. & Woodward, L. J. (2011). Emotional and behavioural adjustment of children born very preterm at early school age. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 47, 863-869. no. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02105.x

Pritchard, V.E., & Woodward, L.J. (2011). Preschool executive control on the Shape School task: measurement considerations and utility. Psychological Assessment, 23(1), 31-43.

Woodward, L.J., Clark, C.A.C., Pritchard, V.E., Anderson, P.J., & Inder, T.E. (2011). Neonatal white matter abnormalities predict global executive function impairment in children born very preterm. Developmental Neuropsychology, 36(1), 22-41.

Woodward, L.J., & Pritchard, V.E. (2011). Understanding the development of at the risk premature child. In J. Low & P. Jose (Eds.), Lifespan Development: The New Zealand Context. (2nd Edition) (pp. 32-46),Wellington: Pearson Education

2010

Clark, C.A.C., Pritchard, V.E., & Woodward, L.J. (2010). Preschool executive functioning abilities predicts early mathematics achievement. Developmental Psychology, 46(5), 1176-1191.

Clark, C.A.C., & Woodward, L.J. (2010). Neonatal cerebral abnormalities and later verbal and visuospatial working memory abilities of children born very preterm. Developmental Neuropsychology, 35(6), 622-642.

Foster-Cohen, S.H., Friesen, M.D., Champion, P.R., & Woodward, L.J. (2010). High prevalence/low severity language delay in preschool children born very preterm. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 31(8), 658-667.

Treyvaud, K., Anderson, V.A., Lee, K.J., Woodward, L.J., Newnham, C., Inder, T.E., Doyle, L.W., & Anderson, P.J. (2010). Parental mental health and early socio-emotional development of children born very preterm. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(7), 768-777.

Wouldes, T.A., & Woodward, L.J. (2010). Maternal methadone dose during pregnancy and infant clinical outcome. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 32(3), 406-413.

Friesen, M.D., Woodward, L.J., Horwood, L.J., & Fergusson, D.M. (2010). Childhood exposure to sexual abuse and partnership outcomes at age 30. Psychological Medicine, 40(4), 679-688.

2009

Hornby, G., & Woodward, L.J. (2009). Educational needs of school-aged children born very and extremely preterm: A review. Educational Psychology Review, 21(3), 247-266.

Quick, Z.L., Robb, M.P., & Woodward, L.J. (2009). Acoustic cry characteristics of infants exposed to methadone during pregnancy. Acta Paediatrica, 98(1), 74-79.

Pritchard, V.E., Clark, C.A.C., Liberty, K., Champion, P.R., Wilson, K., & Woodward, L.J. (2009). Early school-based learning difficulties in children born very preterm. Early Human Development, 85(4), 215-224.

Treyvaud, K., Anderson, V.A., Howard, K., Bear, M., Hunt, R.W., Doyle, L.W., Inder, T.E., Woodward, L.J., & Anderson, P.J. (2009). Parenting behaviour is associated with the early neurobehavioral development of very preterm children. Pediatrics, 123(2), 555-561.

Woodward, L.J., Moor, S., Hood, K.M, Champion, P.R., Foster-Cohen, S., Inder, T.E., & Austin, N.C. (2009). Very preterm children show impairments across multiple neurodevelopmental domains by age 4 years. Archives of Disease in Childhood, Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 94(5), F339-344.

2008

Clark, C.A.C, Woodward, L.J., Horwood, L.J., & Moor, S. (2008). Development of emotional and behavioral regulation in children born extremely and very preterm: Biological and social influences. Child Development, 79(5), 1444-1462.

Edgin, J.O., Inder, T.E., Hood, K.M., Clark, C.A.C., & Woodward, L.J. (2008). Executive functioning in preschool children born very preterm: Relationship with early white matter pathology. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 14(1), 90-101.

Friesen, M.D., Woodward, L.J., Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J. & Chesney, A. (2008). Living standards and material conditions of young New Zealand families. New Zealand Social Policy Journal, 33, 48-69.

2007

Foster-Cohen, S., Edgin, J.O., Champion, P.R., & Woodward, L.J. (2007). Early delayed language development in very preterm infants: evidence from the MacArthur-Bates CDI. Journal of Child Language, 34(3), 655-675.

Woodward, L.J., Fergusson, D.M., Chesney, A., & Horwood, L.J. (2007). Punitive parenting practices of contemporary young parents. New Zealand Medical Journal, 120(1267), 1-9.

2006

Anderson, N.G., Laurent, I., Woodward, L.J., & Inder, T.E. (2006). Detection of impaired growth of the corpus callosum in premature infants. Pediatrics, 118(3), 951-60.

Gray, D., Woodward, L.J., Spencer, C., Inder, T.E., & Austin, N.C. (2006). Health service utilisation of a regional cohort of very preterm infants over the first two years of life. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 42(6), 377-383.

Keown, L.J., & Woodward, L.J. (2006). Preschool boys with pervasive hyperactivity: Early peer functioning and mother-child relationship influences. Social Development, 15(1), 23-45.

Shah, D.K., Guinane, C., August, P., Austin , N.C. , Woodward, L.J., Thompson, D.K., Warfield, S.K., Clemett, R., & Inder, T.E. (2006). Reduced occipital regional volumes at term predict impaired visual function in early childhood in very low birth weight infants. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, 47(8), 3366-73.

Woodward, L.J., Anderson, P.J, Austin, N.C., Howard, K., & Inder, T.E. (2006). Neonatal MRI to predict neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants. New England Journal of Medicine, 355(7), 685-694.

Woodward, L.J., Edgin, J.O., & Champion, P.R. (2006). The preterm infant: An example of developmental risk. In J. Low and P. Jose (Eds.), Lifespan Development: The New Zealand Context. Wellington: Pearson Education.

Woodward, L.J., Fergusson, D.M., & Horwood, L.J. (2006). Gender differences in the transition to early parenthood. Development and Psychopathology, 18(1), 275-294.

2005

Anderson, N.G., Laurent, I., Cook, N., Woodward, L.J., & Inder, T.E. (2005). Growth rate of corpus collosum in very premature infants. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 26(10), 2685-90.

Belsky, J., Jaffee, S.R., Sligo, J., Woodward, L.J., & Silva, P.A. (2005). Intergenerational transmission of warm-sensitive-stimulating parenting: a prospective study of mothers and fathers of 3-year-olds. Child Development, 76(2), 384-96.

Woodward, L.J., Edgin, J,O., Thompson, D., & Inder, T.E. (2005). Object working memory deficits predicted by early brain injury and development in the preterm infant. Brain, 128, 2578-2587.

Woodward, L.J., & Liberty, K.A. (2005). Breastfeeding and child psychosocial development. In R.E. Tremblay, R.G. Barr, & R.D.Peters (Eds.),Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development (pp.1-6). Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development.

Inder, T.E., Warfield, S.K., Hong Wang., Huppi, P.S., & Volpe, J.J. (2005). Abnormal Cerebral Structure Is Present at Term in Premature Infants. Pediatrics, 115 (2) 286-294.

Year Funding agency Project
2014 Health Research Council of New Zealand Neurodevelopmental outcomes of children exposed to methadone during pregnancy. (Jacki Henderson - Emerging Researcher First Grant)
2011 Health Research Council of New Zealand Neurological Development of the Very Preterm Infant: A Longitudinal Study. (Woodward, Inder, Pritchard, Watts, Franz and Austin)
2010 Lottery Grants Board Longitudinal Evaluation of the Neurological Development of the Very Preterm Infant. (Woodward, Inder, Pritchard, Watts, and Austin)
  Cure Kids Longitudinal Evaluation of the Neurological Development of the Premature Infant. (Woodward, Inder, Pritchard, Watts, and Austin.)
2009 Cure Kids (previously Child Health Research Foundation) Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Children Exposed to Methadone During Pregnancy. (Woodward, Pritchard, Warfield, Moor, Wouldes, and Watts)
  James Cook Research Fellowship: Royal Society of New Zealand Neural and Social Pathways Leading to Neurodevelopmental Risk. (Woodward)
2008 Neurological Foundation of New Zealand Cerebral Abnormalities on Neonatal MRI and Later Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Children Born Very Preterm. (Woodward, Pritchard, Moor, and Austin)
2007 Child Health Research Foundation Follow-up of a New Zealand National Cohort of Very Low Birth Weight Infants at 22 Years of Age. (Darlow, Horwood, and Woodward)
  Health Research Council of New Zealand Programme Extension. Longitudinal Studies of Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing. (Fergusson, Horwood, Beautrais, Wells, and Woodward)
  Wayne Francis Trust Infrastructural Support for Canterbury Child Development Research Group. (Woodward, Champion, Ganley, and Austin)
2006 Health Research Council of New Zealand Childhood Exposure to Family Violence and Later Parenting Risk. (Woodward, Horwood, and Fergusson)
2005 Canterbury Medical Research Foundation Cognitive, Educational, and Behavioural Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weight Children at Age 6. (Woodward, Moor, Champion, and Austin)
2003 Health Research Council of New Zealand Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weight Infants at Age 4 Years: Neuroanatomical and Socio-environmental Factors. (Woodward, Inder, Anderson, Foster-Cohen, Neha, and Austin)
2002 Neurological Foundation of New Zealand Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weight Infants at Age 4 Years: Neuroanatomical and Socio-environmental Factors. (Woodward, Inder, Anderson, Foster-Cohen, and Austin)
2001 Lottery Grants Board Neurological Outcomes of Infants Exposed to Methadone During Pregnancy. (Woodward, Inder, Wouldes, and Kuschel)
  University of Canterbury Research Fund Transition to Parenthood and Parenting (Woodward)
  Health Research Council of New Zealand Outcome Evaluation of Early Start (Fergusson, Horwood, and Woodward)
2000 Neurological Foundation of New Zealand Neurological and Psychological Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weight Infants (Woodward, Inder, Champion, and Austin)
  Lottery Grants Board. Grant-in-aid Neurological and Psychological Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weight Infants (Woodward, Inder, and Champion)

Contact us for more information

Postal address

Canterbury Child Development Research Group
University of Canterbury
Psychology Department
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Telephone

Phone: +64 3 369 4342 (direct)
Internal Extension: 94342 (Marie Goulden)

Principal Investigator

Professor Lianne Woodward
Email: ljwoodward@partners.org