Separation anxiety in first-time mothers: infant behavioral reactivity and maternal parenting self-efficacy as contributors.Infant Behav Dev. 2008 Apr; 31(2):294-301.IB
This short-term longitudinal study examined the contribution of infant behavioral reactivity and maternal parenting self-efficacy to first-time mothers' (total n=32) separation anxiety. Infants' behavioral reactivity indexed by gaze and facial affect were observed in the conditions of routine play and maternal still face at 3 months. Mothers reported their self-perceived parenting efficacy at 3 months and separation anxiety at 6 months. Results revealed that infants' frequent gazing at their mother, greater negative affect, and less positive affect observed during the still face, but not during the routine play, contributed to heightened maternal separation anxiety. In addition to a direct link between low maternal parenting self-efficacy and high maternal separation anxiety, maternal parenting self-efficacy buffered against the impact of infant negative reactivity on maternal separation anxiety. The role of infant reactivity and maternal self-efficacy in parenting was discussed.