Nagoya University Psychological Support & Research Center for Human Development


Faculty Staff

NAGATA Masako, Ph.D.


At the moment she has mainly two researches. Firstly, she is investigating the system that enables early intervention in children who suffer from an unbalanced condition such as developmental disability. Previously, the state of support for developmentally disabled children and childcare support were yet to be assessed, even though at an early stage many parents were experiencing difficulties in bringing up and relating to their own children. Now, together with a city in the Aichi prefecture, she is developing and promoting the establishment of a childcare support system, for both parents and children who experience difficulties in their upbringing and in relating to their parents. This could be practiced within the legal framework of a local maternal and child welfare system. While developing this research, she was gradually becoming aware that some children with behavior problems could be affected by a vicious circle of physical abuse or maternal mental instability such as depression. It is also becoming clear that children who are treated at an early stage tended to show positive adaptation results at a later period. In the classes for around two years old with suspected autistic spectrum, we succeeded in lowering parental stress and promoting the positive development of children.

Secondly, her current research deals with the support system for the family and infants at risk due to being underweight at birth. Thanks to the progress of medical technology, the diagnoses of infants in the womb became possible, helping the survival of babies born with a weight of around three hundred grams. While the clinical sites where babies arrive to the world are filled with happiness and celebrations, below the surface there are also conflicting issues, such as infertility treatment, long term hospitalization of mothers, miscarriage and stillbirth.

Although only a few clinical psychologists were at work in NICU fifteen years ago, over one hundred forty clinical psychologists are currently active in this field in Japan. They play an important role in perinatal care and were officially included in the list of “Guidelines for the Maintenance of Perinatal Care System” at the end of January, 2011. The research they have carried out so far reveals that if there are any complications in pregnancy or in childbirth lead to higher levels of maternal depression, which in turn requires a longer periods of bonding and also increases the risk of developmental disabilities.

In the future, she would like to establish a certain model for perinatal psychology which has developed uniquely in Japan, while attempting to investigate the very early intervention system.

Publications (selected)

  1. M. Nagata,Y. Nagai, H. Sobajima, T. Andou, Y. Nishide, & S. Honjo. Depression in the early postpartum period and attachment to children in mothers of NICU infants. Infant and Child Development 13, 93–110. 2004.
  2. M. Nagata, “The influence of psychological care given during perinatal care to the mother’s maternity blues: from the survey ten years after,” Journal of FOUR WINDS Association for Infant Mental Health, 56–61, 2008. (in Japanese)
  3. M. Nagata “Support of the relationship in early childhood-during perinatal period and field of developmental support.” Japanese Journal of Medical and Psychological Study of Infants 20(1), 5-12, 2011. (in Japanese)
  4. M. Nagata, “Psychological care during perinatal period: Support of parent and baby’s bonding and Mental Health” Tomi Shobo, 2011.
  5. M. Nagata “Child care support in Perinatal Medical care” Japanese Jurnal of Clinical Psychology 69 12(3) 311-316, 2013 Kongo shuppan 

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