Maternal bonding, negative affect, and infant social-emotional development: A prospective cohort study

Le Bas, Genevieve A., Youssef, George J., Macdonald, Jacqui A., Mattick, Richard, Teague, Samantha J., Honan, Ingrid, McIntosh, Jennifer E., Khor, Sarah, Rossen, Larissa, Elliott, Elizabeth J., Allsop, Steve, Burns, Lucinda, Olsson, Craig A., and Hutchinson, Delyse M. (2021) Maternal bonding, negative affect, and infant social-emotional development: A prospective cohort study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 281. pp. 926-934.

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Abstract

Background: Theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence suggest that maternal bonding and negative affect play a role in supporting infant social-emotional development (Branjerdporn et al., 2017; Kingston et al., 2012; O'Donnell et al., 2014; Van den Bergh et al., 2017). However, the complex pathways likely to exist between these constructs remain unclear, with limited research examining the temporal and potentially bi-directional associations between maternal bonding and negative affect across pregnancy and infancy.

Methods: The interrelationships between maternal bonding, negative affect, and infant social-emotional development were examined using multi-wave perinatal data from an Australian cohort study (N = 1,579). Self-reported bonding and negative affect were assessed at each trimester, and 8 weeks and 12 months postpartum. The Bayley-III social-emotional scale was administered at age 12 months.

Results: Results revealed strong continuities in bonding and negative affect across pregnancy and postpartum. Small associations (β = -.10 to -.20) existed between maternal negative affect during pregnancy and poor early bonding. Higher postnatal maternal bonding predicted infant social-emotional development (β = .17).

Limitations: Limitations include a somewhat advantaged and predominantly Anglo-Saxon sample of families, and the use of self-report measures (though with strong psychometric properties). These limitations should be considered when interpreting the study findings.

Conclusions: Maternal bonding and negative affect are interrelated yet unique constructs, with suggested developmental interplay between mother-to-infant bonding and infant social-affective development.

Item ID: 73668
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-2517
Copyright Information: © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Project Grant #GNT630517, NHMRC Research Fellowship (APP1197488), NHMRC Research Fellowship (APP1175086), NHMRC Research Fellowship (APP1045318), NHMRC Research Fellowship (APP1110341), NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship #1110341, NHMRC Centre Research Excellence, ARC Principal Research Fellowship, NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship Award
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 01:55
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520101 Child and adolescent development @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200509 Women's and maternal health @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200506 Neonatal and child health @ 50%
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