Pathways from marital aggression to infant emotion regulation: the development of withdrawal in infancy.Infant Behav Dev. 2007 Feb; 30(1):97-113.IB
Associations between marital conflict and infant emotion regulation exist, but explanatory pathways have not been explored. For older children, parental behavior partially mediates this association through a "spillover" process. We test: associations between mothers' and fathers' verbally aggressive marital conflict, infant temperament, and infant withdrawal; mediating effects of negative maternal behavior, and moderating effects of infant temperament, exposure to marital arguments, and contact with father. Eighty mothers, 73 fathers, and their 6-month-old infants participated; parents reported marital aggression prenatally, mothers reported infant exposure to arguments, direct caregiving by father, and infant temperament at 5 months. Negative maternal behavior, infant withdrawal, distress to novelty, activity, and look away were observed at 6 months. Mothers' and fathers' aggressive marital conflict predicted infant withdrawal, interactively with exposure to marital arguments and extent of father caregiving, as did infant temperament and negative maternal behavior. Maternal behavior did not mediate between marital conflict and withdrawal.