Maternal prepartum negative emotionality and infant temperament
Turner, Karen C.
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This study examined the effects of maternal prepartum negative emotionality on aspects of pregnancy complications, mother's length of labor, infant's birth weight, and maternal perception of infant temperament.;Fifty-five mothers from a non-clinical, middle and upper-middle class population participated in the two stages of data collection. One month prior to their due date, the mothers completed demographic, anxiety, and depression questionnaires. When their infants were 4 weeks old, mothers completed a pregnancy history and birth experiences questionnaire, postpartum measures of maternal emotionality, and the Carey Early Infant Temperament Questionnaire (EITQ).;Correlational, regression, and PATH analytic techniques supported the hypotheses that maternal prepartum emotionality was related to pregnancy complications, infant birth weight, and degree of difficulty of infant temperament. However, the findings were gender dependent. For infant boys, (1) elevated levels of maternal prepartum Trait and State anxiety predicted difficulty of infant temperament, (2) maternal pregnancy complications were positively associated with elevated degrees of difficulty of infant temperament via an indirect route and (3) mothers were more "at risk" for a medically compromised pregnancy as reflected in higher rates of doctors' recommendations for bed rest during the pregnancy.;For infant girls the results demonstrated that (1) maternal prepartum depression predicted maternal postpartum depression, (2) higher prepartum maternal Trait anxiety predicted a perception of daughters as having lower degrees of difficulty of infant temperament, (3) higher prepartum Trait anxious mothers gave birth to infant daughters with higher birth weights, and (4) mothers who carried female fetuses were less "at risk" for having their pregnancy medically compromised than were mothers of male fetuses. The incidence of severe pregnancy complications with infant females was restricted in this study sample. Thus, it was not possible to evaluate the hypothesis for females.;Maternal prepartum depression failed to predict degree of difficulty of infant temperament in this sample of women. The impact of anxiety may have eclipsed any possible effects of depression.