Associations between Maternal Depression and Infant Temperament: Investigations of a Transactional Model Open Access

Rector, Jessie Lee (2012)

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Maternal depression, both prenatal and postpartum, has been consistently shown to predict
infant temperament (McGrath, Records, & Rice, 2008; Sugawara, Kitamura, Toda, & Shima,
1999). Additionally, few studies have examined the contribution of infant temperament to
maternal depression. Previous literature has shown longitudinal correlations, but has not
control ed for the continuity of depression and temperament over time. We investigated
associations between maternal depression and infant temperament over the first year of the
infant's life, while control ing for the stability of these factors. Additionally, we incorporated
both prenatal and postpartum depression in order to further address this continuity. Maternal
depression was operationalized as a mean of monthly BDI-II scores during the prenatal period,
while BDI-II scores were used at three, six, and 12 months. Infant temperament was
operationalized as infant negative affectivity, as assessed via the IBQ-R. Prenatal depression
was found through regression analysis to be predictive of infant negative affectivity at three
months (p months. While the postpartum transactional model pathways proposed and tested through
hierarchical regression analyses were not supported, there is limited correlational support for
the influence of postpartum maternal depression on infant negative affectivity. The continuity
of maternal depression and infant negative affectivity over the first year was shown. This study
suggests that postpartum maternal depression does not predict infant negative affectivity
above and beyond what would be predicted by previous measures of infant negative affectivity.
Future directions for longitudinal models examining the relationship between maternal
depression and infant temperament should examine further subscales of the IBQ-R measures of
infant temperament. Additionally, further research into the role of perceptions versus
behavioral constructs on infant temperament should be compared.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Temperament 2

Maternal Depression as a Predictor of Infant Temperament 4

Infant temperament as a predictor of maternal depression 8

Maternal depression, parenting, and infant temperament 8

Bidirectional associations between maternal depression and infant temperament 10

Transactional model 11

Present Study 12

Method 14

Participants 14

Procedure 15

Measures 16

Planned Analysis 20

Results 21

Descriptive and Preliminary Analyses 21

Hypothesis Testing 23

Discussion 27

Strengths and weaknesses 30

Future directions 31

Conclusions 31

References 33

Tables and Figures 37

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