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Christina Metcalf PhD

Senior Instructor

Research Description


A stressful childhood can impact a person's mental and physical health long into adulthood. As women approach menopause, they undergo mental and physical changes including those that affect their mood and thinking abilities. Dr. Metcalf's seed grant project aims to understand how women approaching menopause may experience changes to their mood and thinking abilities that are related to their reaction to stressful events or markers of their physical health (inflammation). In particular, this project asks whether women who had stressful childhoods respond differently to stressful events or have different levels of inflammation when they approach menopause than women with relatively less stressful childhoods - and whether this difference in stress response or inflammation is related to differences in mood and thinking abilities between these two groups of women. The results of this project may aid in the creation of treatments to help women in middle age build resiliency to stress. Further, this project may shed light on how new and existing treatments can address the unique needs of women who have had stressful childhoods.