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Title: The effects of maternal depressive mood on mother-infant communication in the postnatal period
Author: Herrera, Eisquel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 4630
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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Background: To this date most studies have been focused on the influence of clinical depression and psychotic reactions during the postnatal period on mother-infant interaction, therefore this study examined the effects of maternal depressive mood in the postnatal period on mother-infant verbal and non-verbal communication. Method: Seventy two mother-infant dyads participated in the study. Eighteen infants of mothers with depressive mood and 18 controls were seen when they were 6 months old; and eighteen infants of mothers with depressive mood and 18 controls were seen when they were 10 months old. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used as a mean to assess maternal depressive mood. Tactile, verbal, and gaze behaviours of mothers and their infants when playing face-to-face during pleasure- and surprise-eliciting situations were coded using micro-analytic techniques. The behaviours of infants of mothers with symptoms of depression were also coded during interactions with a female unfamiliar adult (stranger) during a pleasure-eliciting situation. Results: The patterns of communication in non-depressed mother-infant dyads were appropriate to infants’ developmental age. However, maternal symptoms of depression as outlined by the EPDS appeared to somewhat hinder mothers’ ability to attend to infants’ developmental needs and communicate appropriately through touch, speech, and gaze; as well as infants’ capacity for positive emotional regulation, exploration of the toy, and gaze directed to their mothers during play interactions. Conclusions: These results suggest that maternal depressive mood is potentially a risk factor for difficulties in mother-infant communication during the first year postpartum. The mothers’ mood state and their infants’ age influence the type, frequency, and duration of touch, speech, and gaze during early interactions. Such findings are discussed considering a bi-directional influence in the development of communicative responses between mothers and infants across time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Postpartum depression ; Mother and child ; Interpersonal communication in infants ; Oral communication