Mother's early perception of her infant's difficult temperament, parenting stress and early mother-infant interaction.Nord J Psychiatry. 2006; 60(5):379-86.NJ
The current study investigated factors contributing to mother's early perception of her infant's difficult temperament. One hundred and twenty-four mother-infant dyads participated in the study. Mother's perception of the infant's temperament was assessed with the Infant Characteristics Questionnaire (ICQ). The influence of mother-infant interaction, mother's mental health and parenting stress were investigated. Mother-infant interaction was videotaped during a face-to-face interaction and analysed using the Global Rating Scale. Mother's mental health was assessed through a structured interview (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, SCID) and parenting stress was examined by a questionnaire (Parenting Stress Index). First, the difficulty scale of the ICQ was used as a continuous variable and factors contributing to mother's perception of her infant's temperament as more or less difficult were examined. Secondly, infants were categorized into difficult and non-difficult, and factors increasing the infant's risk of being perceived as difficult were examined. The model including mother's mental health and parental distress accounted for 24% of the variance in perceived infant difficulty, with parental distress in particular being an influential contributor. When infants categorized as difficult were examined, mother's intrusiveness and infant's poor interactive behaviour in early mother-infant interaction as well as parental distress significantly increased the infant's risk of being perceived as difficult.