Izza Choudhry: The Impact of ADHD Risk on the Quality of Mother-Infant Interactions

Hi everyone! My name is Izza Choudhry, and I am a rising senior majoring in Psychology on the pre-med track with a minor in Religious Studies and a certificate in Global Health. My pronouns are she/her/hers. My research project is focused on analyzing and comparing mother-infant interactions based on if a child is at high-risk or low-risk for ADHD. Specifically, I am interested in seeing if an infant being at high-risk for ADHD can impact the quality of mother-infant interactions, such as by leading to a lower number of high-quality interactions.

I plan on coding videos of mother-infant play tasks, looking for instances of high-quality interactions, such as smiling, vocalization, and mimicking behaviors, as well as analyzing surveys mothers have completed on their child’s behavior. I believe this research is important because its findings, along with continued research in this area, may have implications in clinical practice and education. For instance, if we find that ADHD symptomatologies in an infant does lead to a mother having less high-quality interactions with her child, there is the potential for earlier interventions in childhood and motherhood to help alleviate the stress that may come with ADHD symptomatologies. Detecting causes of low-quality interactions in childhood and working to prevent them early on can prevent later strained, negative mother-child interactions and relationships. For this project, my research mentor is Dr. Heather Joseph. Dr. Joseph is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and also does research through the Youth and Family Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh. 

My current plan is to attend medical school after I graduate. I am definitely hoping to pursue a career in pediatrics, with pediatric psychiatry also being of interest to me. My project is certainly relevant to my current professional goals, since as a pediatrician or a pediatric psychiatrist, I will see patients who have ADHD. ADHD can impact family dynamics, leading to stress and tension, and with the information gained from this research, I will have knowledge on just how early on in childhood that ADHD symptomatologies can impact mother-child relationships. If it is found that a child being at-risk for ADHD leads to less high-quality mother-infant interactions, earlier interventions in clinical practice can be taken to improve ADHD symptomatologies and consciously improve the mother-infant relationship.

Additionally, something I am very interested in with the Brackenridge is how interdisciplinary it is. I am very excited to hear about a variety of diverse research projects, thus improving my own comprehension skills while learning about disciplines that I am not familiar with, and to also develop better communication skills when explaining my research. Many of the people who will hear about my research may not be familiar with the field of psychology, so it is my responsibility to practice communicating concepts that others may not be familiar with in a way that is easy to understand. Being a doctor involves a large understanding of medical concepts, but being able to communicate these complex concepts to patients, who will have varying ranges of understanding of medicine, is a significant part of high-quality care, so I am looking forward to practicing this through presenting my research. This is an amazing and valuable skill to have, and definitely something that I will gain this summer that I will carry with me for the entirety of my professional career.

Fun fact: I have a chocolate lab named Coco who I love very much! He is 2 and a half years old, but definitely still acts like a puppy 🙂

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply