Longitudinal relations among maternal depressive symptoms, maternal mind-mindedness, and infant attachment behavior.Infant Behav Dev. 2018 05; 51:33-44.IB
The relations among maternal depression risk, maternal mind-mindedness, and infants' attachment behavior were longitudinally examined in a community sample of mother-infant dyads. Maternal self-reported depression risk was measured at the infant ages of 6 weeks, 4 months, and 12 months. Maternal mind-mindedness, assessed from mothers' comments about infants' mental states (e.g., infants' thoughts, desires, or emotions), was measured during mother-infant interactions when infants were 4 months. Infants' attachment behavior was assessed at one year. Mothers' depression risk decreased over the infants' first year, with the sharpest decline between 6 weeks and 4 months. Mothers at risk for depression when infants were 6 weeks showed less appropriate mind-mindedness at 4 months. Mind-mindedness was not related to maternal depression risk at the infant age of 4 months or 12 months. Infants' degree of disorganized attachment behavior at one year was positively associated with maternal depression risk at 6 weeks and negatively associated with maternal appropriate mind-mindedness at 4 months. Mothers who are at risk for depression in their infants' early lives may be hampered in their capacity to respond appropriately to their infants' mental states. Infants with mothers who have difficulty responding appropriately to their mental states, as suggested by low appropriate mind-mindedness, may feel less known and recognized by their mothers, a key theme in the origins of disorganized attachment.