Bi-directional effects of depressed mood in the postnatal period on mother-infant non-verbal engagement with picture books.Infant Behav Dev. 2010 Dec; 33(4):613-8.IB
The purpose of the present study is to examine the bi-directional nature of maternal depressed mood in the postnatal period on maternal and infant non-verbal behaviors while looking at a picture book. Although, it is acknowledged that non-verbal engagement with picture books in infancy plays an important role, the effect of maternal depressed mood on stimulating the interest of infants in books is not known. Sixty-one mothers and their infants, 38 boys and 23 girls, were observed twice approximately 3 months apart (first observation: mean age 6.8 months, range 3-11 months, 32 mothers with depressed mood; second observation: mean age 10.2 months, range 6-16 months, 17 mothers with depressed mood). There was a significant effect for depressed mood on negative behaviors: infants of mothers with depressed mood tended to push away and close books more often. The frequency of negative behaviors (pushing the book away/closing it on the part of the infant and withholding the book and restraining the infant on the part of the mother) were behaviors which if expressed during the first visit were more likely to be expressed during the second visit. Levels of negative behaviors by mother and infant were strongly related during each visit. Additionally, the pattern between visits suggests that maternal negative behavior may be the cause of her infant negative behavior. These results are discussed in terms of the effects of maternal depressed mood on the bi-directional relation of non-verbal engagement of mother and child.