UPDATE—Lyons-Ruth Study

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We received the following email update from attachment researcher Karlen Lyons-Ruth. Karlen was kind enough to allow us to use her email update as a part of a blog post.

Dear Rick and the FHL Foundation,

We are very pleased to let you know of the recent publication of the results from our previous FHL Foundation project, “Interpersonal Stress Responses Among Borderline Patients and Controls” in Psychiatry Research.  We have attached the accepted manuscript, showing a significant association between young adults’ perceptions of the quality of protective parental care and their stress hormone (cortisol) levels.  We also found that young adults with borderline personality disorder reported the lowest levels of perceived maternal protection of the three groups in the study.

Furthermore, we have made exciting progress on our current FHL Foundation project entitled “Neurobiological Effects of Disorganized Attachment: A fMRI study.” To date, we have completed 16 magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) scans on participants from our longitudinal study who experienced early disrupted caregiving. Preliminary MRI results are promising.

Again, we very much appreciate the support of the FHL Foundation in allowing us to investigate these critical aspects of the neurobiology of attachment.


Karlen Lyons-Ruth


Karlen Lyons-Ruth, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Harvard Medical School

Director, Biobehavioral Family Studies Lab
Department of Psychiatry
Cambridge Hospital