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The Impact of Postnatal Depression and Associated Adversity on Early Mother-Infant Interactions and Later Infant Outcome

Lynne Murray, Agnese Fiori-Cowley, Richard Hooper and Peter Cooper
Child Development
Vol. 67, No. 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 2512-2526
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131637
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131637
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Impact of Postnatal Depression and Associated Adversity on Early Mother-Infant Interactions and Later Infant Outcome
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Abstract

The impact of maternal depression and adversity on mother-infant face-to-face interactions at 2 months, and on subsequent infant cognitive development and attachment, was examined in a low-risk sample of primiparous women and their infants. The severe disturbances in mother-infant engagement characteristic of depressed groups in disadvantaged populations were not evident in the context of postpartum mood disorder in the present study. However, compared to well women, depressed mothers were less sensitively attuned to their infants, and were less affirming and more negating of infant experience. Similar difficulties in maternal interactions were also evident in the context of social and personal adversity. Disturbances in early mother-infant interactions were found to be predictive of poorer infant cognitive outcome at 18 months. Infant attachment, by contrast, was not related to the quality of 2-month interactions, but was significantly associated with the occurrence of adversity, as well as postpartum depression.

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