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Impact of maternal depressive symptoms on the development of infant temperament: Cascading effects during the first year of life

Rigato, Silvia and Stets, Manuela and Bonneville-Roussy, Arielle and Holmboe, Karla (2020) 'Impact of maternal depressive symptoms on the development of infant temperament: Cascading effects during the first year of life.' Social Development. ISSN 0961-205X

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Abstract

Maternal depression is associated with a range of child development outcomes, including difficult temperament. This longitudinal study investigated whether depressive symptoms (DS) that mothers experience after childbirth predict infant negative affect (NA), as well as potential effects of infant NA on maternal DS, across the first year of life. In the study (N = 63), questionnaires (the Beck Depression Inventory II, and the Infant Behavior Questionnaire–Revised, Very Short Form) were administered at 2 weeks, 4, 6, and 9 months after birth. Using path analysis, we tested five different models that could explain the relationship between maternal DS and infant NA. The best-fitting model showed that the days immediately following childbirth represent an important time for the development of infant temperament as maternal mood significantly predicts infant NA for at least 4 months after birth. This does not constitute a single sensitive period; a new predictive effect emerges around 4 months of age, suggesting cascading influences of maternal DS across the first 6 months of life. These results suggest a need for support, should a mother experience DS, not only immediately after birth but throughout the early stages of parenting.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: maternal depression, infant temperament, negative affect, individual differences, longitudinal, structural equation modelling (SEM)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2020 10:49
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 08:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27189

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