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Title: Investigation of maternal factors of mood and bonding in association with infant interest in the mother-face and stranger face
Author: Jones, Rebecca Rhianwen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 8501
Awarding Body: The University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2009
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The first section of this thesis reviews research on maternal mood and infant development and concludes that associations between maternal mood and infant development exist. The review identifies a number of limitations to the existing literature, including the potential confound of measuring infant behaviour only when in interaction with their mother. Whilst studies on social and emotional development included the mother in the assessment of infant behaviour, studies on cognitive development benefited from assessing infant behaviour without their mother. However, within this area of infant cognition very little research interest was directed towards young infants, and in particular early perceptual abilities, therefore this represented an area requiring further research. To address this gap in the literature, a study of early infant perceptual interest was conducted in relation to maternal mood and bonding. Perceptual interest in the mother's face was selected as this has received considerable attention in the general developmental literature, but not previously in relation to maternal mood. The motherface has been clearly shown to be of interest to the young infant. This thesis finds that maternal mood is associated with 3-month-old infant's interest in their mother's face, with reduced interest shown by infants' whose mothers show mood symptoms. Maternal anxiety and depression scores were found to predict infant interest in their mother's face, however no associations were found with bonding, suggesting that bonding was not a mediating factor. The clinical and theoretical implications of the associations are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available