Heidemarie Kaiser Laurent

Associate Professor

Research Interests

  • Stress regulation
  • Mindfulness
  • Depression
  • Close relationships

Research Description

What separates people who can thrive in the face of stress from those who succumb to mood disorders? How do early and later relationships buffer or exacerbate stress vulnerabilities, and how can people learn to respond more adaptively to daily stressors? Dr. Laurent’s research focuses on (1) defining what we mean by stress “regulation” by relating multiple biological (i.e., neural, neuroendocrine, autonomic) and behavioral stress response facets to psychological symptoms and well-being; (2) identifying developmental paths shaping stress regulation, including prenatal and postnatal influences of parental depression; and (3) determining how practices such as mindfulness can improve stress regulation, and whom such practices are most likely to benefit. Her work combines stress physiology monitoring, neuroimaging, and/or behavioral observation as people respond to naturalistic stressors that arise within close interpersonal relationships, toward the ultimate goal of interrupting intergenerational cycles of stress dysregulation and depression.



Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Additional Campus Affiliations

Affiliate, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Associate Professor, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Creative/Performing Interests

Stress regulation; Mindfulness; Depression; Close relationships

Recent Publications

Dawson, D. N., Volpe, V. V., & Laurent, H. K. (2019). Synergistic Effects of Psychological Intimate Partner Violence Exposure and Gender Discrimination on Postnatal Mental Health Trajectories. Journal of interpersonal violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260519844274

Kern, S., & Laurent, H. K. (2019). Childhood abuse predicts affective symptoms via HPA reactivity during mother-infant stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 107, 19-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.04.023

Khan, F., & Laurent, H. K. (2019). Assessing the Impact of Mindfulness and Life Stress on Maternal Well-Being. Mindfulness, 10(1), 26-35. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0943-y

Laurent, H. (2019). Challenges in Characterizing the “Mommy Brain”. Parenting, 19(1-2), 94-96. https://doi.org/10.1080/15295192.2019.1556007

Nelson, B. W., Wright, D. B., Allen, N. B., & Laurent, H. K. (2019). Maternal stress and social support prospectively predict infant inflammation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2019.05.010

View all publications on Illinois Experts

In The News