Maternal perinatal social support and infant ocial‑emotional problems and competencies: a longitudinal cross‑cohort replication study

Schuijers, Melanie, Greenwood, Christopher J., Mcintosh, Jennifer E., Youssef, George, Letcher, Primrose, Macdonald, Jacqui A., Spry, Elizabeth, Le Bas, Genevieve, Teague, Samantha, Biden, Ebony, Elliott, Elizabeth, Allsop, Steve, Burns, Lucinda, Olsson, Craig A., and Hutchinson, Delyse M. (2024) Maternal perinatal social support and infant ocial‑emotional problems and competencies: a longitudinal cross‑cohort replication study. Archives of Women's Mental Health. (In Press)

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Abstract

Purpose: Maternal perinatal social support is theorised to promote ffspring social-emotional development, yet few studies have prospectively examined this relationship. Findings may inform preventative intervention efforts, to support a healthy start to emotional life.

Methods: This study examined whether maternal social support perinatally predicts infant social-emotional development at 12 months of age in two longitudinal cohort studies: The Australian Temperament Project (ATP) (n = 1,052 mother-infant dyads [653 mothers, M age_at_birth = 32.03, 88% Australian-born; 1,052 infants, 52% girls]) and The Triple B Pregnancy Cohort Study (Triple B) (n = 1,537 dyads [1,498 mothers, M age_at_birth = 32.53, 56% Australian-born; 1,537 infants, 49% girls]). Social support was assessed at pregnancy (third trimester) and eight-weeks post-birth. Infant social-emotional competencies (ATP: Brief Infant and Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA), Competencies Scale; Triple B: Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-Social Emotional Scale) and problems (ATP: BITSEA, Problems Scale; Triple B: Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Social-Emotional Scale), were assessed at 12-months of age.

Results: In ATP, social support was associated with lower offspring problems (pregnancy: β = -0.15; post-birth: β = -0.12) and greater competencies (pregnancy: β = 0.12; post-birth: β = 0.16) at 12 months. In Triple B, social support also predicted lower offspring problems (pregnancy: β = -0.11; post-birth: β = -0.07) and greater competencies (pregnancy: β = 0.07) at 12 months. Findings did not indicate an association between support at eight-weeks post-birth and subsequent competencies (β = 0.06).

Conclusions: Evidence suggests that perinatal social support promotes healthy infant social and emotional development. These results underscore the critical importance of social support for mothers transitioning into parenthood.

Item ID: 82902
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1435-1102
Copyright Information: © Crown 2024. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP130101459, ARC DP160103160, ARC DP180102447, NHMRC APP1082406, NHMRC GNT630517, NHMRC Research Fellowships APP1197488, NHMRC Research Fellowships APP1175086, NHMRC Research Fellowships APP1021480
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2024 02:51
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520101 Child and adolescent development @ 50%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520302 Clinical psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200506 Neonatal and child health @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200509 Women's and maternal health @ 50%
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