To investigate whether temperament in 1.5-year-olds predicts their consumption of potentially obesogenic foods and drinks at ages 3 and 7 years.
Participants were 6 997 mothers and infants from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Questionnaires were collected during pregnancy, at birth, and at child ages 6 months and 1.5, 3, and 7 years. Predictor variables: children’s temperament at age 1.5 (internalizing, externalizing, surgent) and mothers’ negative affectivity. Outcome variables: children’s consumption of sweet foods, sweet drinks, and fruits/vegetables at ages 3 and 7 (dichotomized at the 85th percentile).
Controlling for covariates, internalizing 1.5-year-olds (anxious, dependent) were 77% and 63% more likely to consume sweet drinks daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively; they were 55% and 43% more likely to consume sweet foods daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively. Externalizing 1.5-year-olds (hyperactive, aggressive) were 34% more likely to consume sweet drinks daily at age 7, 39% and 44% more likely to consume sweet foods daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively, and they were 47% and 33% less likely to consume fruits/vegetables daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively. Surgent 1.5-year-olds (active, sociable) were 197% and 78% more likely to consume two portions of fruits/vegetables daily at ages 3 and 7, respectively. The association of maternal negative affectivity was limited to the child’s consumption of sweet foods at 3 and 7 years.
Early child temperament is a risk factor for obesogenic diet in later childhood. Mechanisms explaining this association need to be explored.
child; temperament; obesity; diet; eating
The goal of the present study was to determine whether mothers’ assessment of their infants’ temperament is associated with objective measures of their infant’s acceptance patterns and their judgments of their infants' liking of a green vegetable. To this end, infants (N=92) were video-recorded as their mothers fed them green beans. From these videos, we determined the frequency of facial distaste expressions made during the first two minutes of the feeding. Other measures included intake, maternal ratings of infants’ enjoyment of this vegetable, and temperament. Infants who scored high on the approach dimension of the temperament questionnaire were less likely to express facial expressions of distaste, consumed more food, and were perceived by their mothers as enjoying the food more. Mediation analyses revealed that ratings of enjoyment were not directly related to the child’s approach temperament, but rather the relationship between mothers’ ratings and temperament was mediated by the amount of time infants spent eating the vegetable. Regression analyses suggested that in addition to the length of time children ate, mothers’ ratings of their infants’ enjoyment was predicted by the number of squints that the infant expressed during the meal. These findings suggest that although certain aspects of children’s temperament are related to their food acceptance mothers attend to facial expressions and time spent eating independently of these temperamental characteristics when judging their infant’s enjoyment of a food. Understanding how mothers use this information to decide which foods to feed their infants is an important area for future research.
feeding; facial reactivity; FACS; temperament; green vegetables; nutrition; mother-infant interactions
The role of children's personality traits in the consumption of potentially obesogenic foods was investigated in a sample of Norwegian children aged 6–12 years (N = 327, 170 boys, 157 girls). Mothers rated their child's personality on the traits of the Five Factor Model (i.e., Extraversion, Benevolence, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Imagination). Mothers also completed a food frequency questionnaire assessing their child's consumption of sweet drinks, sweet foods, and fruit and vegetables, and reported their child's height and weight. Controlling for age and mothers' education, boys and girls who were less benevolent consumed more sweet drinks, and girls who were less conscientious and more neurotic consumed more sweet drinks. Boys and girls who were more benevolent and imaginative consumed more fruits and vegetables, and boys who were more extraverted, more conscientious, and less neurotic consumed more fruits and vegetables. Controlling for maternal education, boys and girls who were less extraverted, and girls who were less benevolent, less conscientious, and more neurotic were more likely to be overweight or obese. These findings suggest that children's personality traits play an important yet understudied role in their diet. Further investigation of mechanisms that relate child traits to obesogenic eating and overweight would be valuable.
Eating; diet; food consumption; weight; obesity; personality; temperament; behavior problems; gender; children
To investigate whether maternal negative affectivity assessed in pregnancy is related to subsequent infant food choices.
Mothers (N = 37, 919) and their infants participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Maternal negative affectivity assessed pre-partum (SCL-5 at week 17 and 30 of pregnancy), introduction of solid foods by month 3, and feeding of sweet drinks by month 6 (by mothers’ reports).
Mothers with higher negative affectivity were 64% more likely (95% CI 1.5–1.8) to feed sweet drinks by month 6, and 79% more likely (95% CI 1.6–2.0) to introduce solid foods by month 3. These odds decreased to 41% and 30%, respectively, after adjusting for mother’s age, body mass index, and education.
The maternal trait of negative affectivity is an independent predictor of infant feeding practices that may be related to childhood weight gain, overweight, and obesity.
maternal feeding practices; negative affectivity; solid foods; sweet drinks
Background & Methods
To examine the relationship between breastfeeding and maternally-rated infant temperament at age 3 months, 316 infants in the prospective Cambridge Baby Growth Study, UK had infant temperament assessed at age 3 months by mothers using the Revised Infant Behavior Questionnaire, which produces scores for three main dimensions of temperament derived from 14 subscales. Infant temperament scores were related to mode of infant milk feeding at age 3 months (breast only; formula milk only; or mixed) with adjustment for infant's age at assessment and an index of deprivation.
Infant temperament dimension scores differed across the three infant feeding groups, but appeared to be comparable between exclusive breast-fed and mixed-fed infants. Compared to formula milk-fed infants, exclusive breast-fed and mixed-fed infants were rated as having lower impulsivity and positive responses to stimulation (adjusted mean [95% CI] “Surgency/Extraversion” in formula-fed vs. mixed-fed vs. breast-fed groups: 4.3 [4.2–4.5] vs. 4.0 [3.8–4.1] vs. 4.0 [3.9–4.1]; p-heterogeneity = 0.0006), lower ability to regulate their own emotions (“Orienting/Regulation”: 5.1 [5.0–5.2], vs. 4.9 [4.8–5.1] vs. 4.9 [4.8–5.0]; p = 0.01), and higher emotional instability (“Negative affectivity”: 2.8 [2.6–2.9] vs. 3.0 [2.8–3.1] vs. 3.0 [2.9–3.1]; p = 0.03).
Breast and mixed-fed infants were rated by their mothers as having more challenging temperaments in all three dimensions; particular subscales included greater distress, less smiling, laughing, and vocalisation, and lower soothability. Increased awareness of the behavioural dynamics of breastfeeding, a better expectation of normal infant temperament and support to cope with difficult infant temperament could potentially help to promote successful breastfeeding.
Our purpose was to assess early infant-feeding patterns in a cohort of low-income black mothers and to examine associations between maternal perception of infant temperament and complementary feeding (CF) before 4 months.
We used cross-sectional data from the 3-month visit (n = 217) of the Infant Care, Feeding and Risk of Obesity Study to assess relationships between early feeding of solids or juice and 6 dimensions of perceived infant temperament. Descriptive statistics were used to assess infant-feeding patterns, and logistic regression models were fit for each diet-temperament relationship found significant in the bivariate analyses.
Seventy-seven percent of the infants were fed solid foods at 3 months, 25% were fed juice, and 6% were exclusively breastfed. In multivariable analyses, 2 dimensions of perceived infant temperament were associated with early feeding of solid foods (distress-to-limitations odds ratio [OR]: 1.97 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.12–3.44]; activity-level OR: 1.75 [95% CI: 1.07–2.85]), whereas 1 dimension, low-intensity pleasure, was associated with early feeding of juice (OR: 0.51 [95% CI: 0.34–0.78]). Maternal characteristics significantly associated with early CF included breastfeeding, obesity, and depressive symptoms.
Low-income black mothers may represent a priority population for interventions aimed at improving adherence to optimal infant feeding recommendations. That maternal perceptions of several domains of perceived infant temperament are related to early CF suggests that this is an important factor to include in future observational research and in the design of interventions.
infancy; temperament; complementary feeding; breastfeeding; overweight
Mothers of young children in Ghana believe that breastfeeding exclusively for six months impairs subsequent introduction of other foods. The current study was designed to determine whether feeding adequacy among 9–23 months old children is influenced by duration of exclusive breastfeeding.
We surveyed 300 mother-infant pairs attending child-welfare-clinic at the University of Ghana Hospital, Accra. Data collected included sociodemographic characteristics, morbidity, breastfeeding history, and maternal practices and perception on child feeding and temperament. Current child feeding was assessed using 24-hour dietary recall. Adequately fed children were defined as 9–23 month old children meeting three basic feeding adequacy thresholds: 1) was fed complementary foods, at least three times in the last 24 hours, 2) was fed from at least three food groups, and 3) received breast milk in the last 24 hours. Multiple logistic regressions were used to identify independent predictors of child feeding adequacy.
About 66% of children were exclusively breastfed for six months and only 56% were adequately fed in the in the 24 hours preceding the survey. Child feeding adequacy was unrelated to duration of exclusive breastfeeding (OR=0.73; p=0.30). After controlling for child sex, age, and maternal education, the independent determinants of feeding adequacy included recent child morbidity (OR=0.41; p=0.03), number of caregivers who feed child (OR=1.33; p=0.03), and maternal perception that child does not like food (OR=0.25; p<0.01).
Child temperament was unrelated to feeding adequacy.
Child feeding adequacy is not affected by duration of exclusive breastfeeding. The study provides evidence to address misperceptions about exclusively breastfeeding for six months.
Exclusive breastfeeding; child; dietary diversity; feeding adequacy; duration
This study examined the association between paternal alcoholism and 12-month infant temperament and 18-month behavior problems. The role of associated parental psychopathology and maternal drinking in exacerbating risk for maladaptive behavioral outcomes was also examined. Participants were 213 families (102 control families, 94 paternal alcoholic families, and 17 families with alcoholic fathers and heavy drinking mothers) who were assessed when their child was 12 months old and reassessed again when their child was 18 months old. Infants of alcoholics displayed marginally more stubborn/persistent temperaments at 12 months of age, but significantly more internalizing problems at 18 months. Analyses suggested that internalizing problems in the infants of alcoholics could be attributed to the paternal depression concomitant with paternal alcoholism. In addition, an interaction was observed, indicating that paternal alcohol problems predicted 18-month externalizing problems among families with low maternal depression, but not among families with high maternal depression. Children of depressed mothers exhibited uniformly higher externalizing scores, but were not further impacted by paternal alcohol problems. However, children of nondepressed mothers were adversely affected by fathers’ drinking as reflected by higher externalizing behavior scores. The results highlight the necessity of addressing the overall contextual risks that occur with paternal alcoholism in studies of the development of children in alcoholic families.
This study examined associations between mother–infant nighttime interactions and mother–infant attachment when infants were 12 months old. Forty-four mother–infant pairs participated in this study. For three consecutive nights at home, babies were observed in their cribs using a digital video system. Mothers reported on their nighttime interactions with their babies using a self-report diary and completed a questionnaire regarding child temperament. Attachment was assessed in the Strange Situation (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978). Mothers of securely attached infants had nighttime interactions that were generally more consistent, sensitive and responsive than those of insecurely attached infants. Specifically, in secure dyads, mothers generally picked up and soothed infants when they fussed or cried after an awakening.
maternal responsiveness; attachment; infants; nighttime; sleep
To investigate temperament in infants whose mothers were exposed to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and to determine if high hurricane exposure is associated with difficult infant temperament. A prospective cohort study of women giving birth in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA (n=288) in 2006–2007 was conducted. Questionnaires and interviews assessed the mother’s experiences during the hurricane, living conditions, and psychological symptoms, two months and 12 months postpartum. Infant temperament characteristics were reported by the mother using the activity, adaptability, approach, intensity, and mood scales of the Early Infant and Toddler Temperament Questionnaires, and “difficult temperament” was defined as scoring in the top quartile for three or more of the scales. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between hurricane experience, mental health, and infant temperament. Serious experiences of the hurricane did not strongly increase the risk of difficult infant temperament (association with 3 or more serious experiences of the hurricane: adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63–3.58 at 2 months; 0.58, 0.15–2.28 at 12 months). Maternal mental health was associated with report of difficult infant temperament, with women more likely to report having a difficult infant temperament at one year if they had screened positive for PTSD (aOR 1.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61–5.41), depression, (aOR 3.16, 95% CI 1.22–8.20) or hostility (aOR 2.17, 95% CI 0.81–5.82) at 2 months. Large associations between maternal stress due to a natural disaster and infant temperament were not seen, but maternal mental health was associated with reporting difficult temperament. Further research is needed to determine the effects of maternal exposure to disasters on child temperament, but in order to help babies born in the aftermath of disaster, the focus may need to be on the mother’s mental health.
infant temperament; natural disaster; postpartum depression; post-traumatic stress disorder
Prospective studies linking infant temperament, or behavioral style, to infant body composition are lacking. In this longitudinal study (3 to 18 months), we seek to examine the associations between two dimensions of infant temperament (distress to limitations and activity level) and two anthropometric indicators (weight-for-length z-scores (WLZ) and skin fold (SF) measures) in a population at high risk of overweight.
Data are from the Infant Care and Risk of Obesity Project, a longitudinal study of North Carolina low income African American mother-infant dyads (n = 206). Two temperament dimensions were assessed using the Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised. A high distress to limitations score denotes an infant whose mother perceives that s/he often cries or fusses, and a high activity level score one who moves his/her limbs and squirms frequently. Cross-sectional analyses were conducted using ordinary least squares regression. Fixed effects longitudinal models were used to estimate anthropometric outcomes as a function of time varying infant temperament.
In longitudinal models, increased activity levels were associated with later decreased fatness and WLZ. In contrast, high levels of distress to limitations were associated with later increased fatness at all time points and later increased WLZ at 12 months.
Infant temperament dimensions contribute to our understanding of the role of behavior in the development of the risk of overweight in the formative months of life. Identification of modifiable risk factors early in life may help target strategies for establishing healthy lifestyles prior to the onset of overweight.
This multi-method study of 102 mothers, fathers, and children examined children's difficult temperament as a moderator of the links between parental personality and future parenting.
Parents described themselves on the Big Five traits and Optimism. Children's difficult temperament was observed at 25 and 38 months in paradigms that assessed proneness to anger. Each parent's responsive, affectively positive parenting was observed in lengthy naturalistic interactions at 67 months.
Regardless of child temperament, for mothers, low Neuroticism, and for fathers, high Extraversion predicted more positive parenting. For difficult, anger-prone children, mothers’ low and high Optimism and fathers’ low and high Openness were associated, respectively, with less or more positive parenting.
Challenges due to children's difficult temperaments appear to amplify links between parental personality traits and parenting.
Authors have recently suggested that difficult temperament in infancy may be associated with rapid weight gain, but none of the previous studies actually report associations between temperament and feeding as a response to infant distress. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether greater infant difficulty elicits more feeding, which in turn leads to more rapid weight gain in early infancy.
Mother-infant pairs (N=154) were visited at 3- and 6-months in their homes. Besides anthropometric measures, mothers kept a 24-hour diary of their infants’ sleep, cry, and feed patterns, and answered questions regarding feeding and infant difficultness.
Feeding occurred as a response to nearly half (48%) of the crying intervals recorded, though it more often occurred in the absence of crying (83%). Mothers were most likely to report holding or rocking their infant as the first strategy they would employ if their baby fussed or cried. A regression analysis that included crying, feeding, weaning, sleep and infant weight revealed maternal reports of numbers of feeds per day as the only variable that predicted weight gain from 3-6 months.
Infant crying is often followed by feeding, and more frequent feeding may promote more rapid weight gain. However, feeding frequency in the first few months appears to be more a matter of maternal discretion than a yoked response to temperamental difficulty. This does not preclude the possibility that overfeeding in later infancy could be tied to temperamental difficulty and subsequently related to overweight in early childhood.
We explored how parent gender, infant temperament, and coparenting dynamics worked together to shape mothers’ and fathers’ depressive symptoms, stress, and parental efficacy during early parenthood. We were interested in the coparenting relationship as a context that shapes how parents respond to their infant’s temperamental qualities. Participants were 139 couples who had recently given birth to their first child. Parent reports of temperament were collected when the infant was 4–8 months old and reports of coparenting and parent adjustment were collected at 13 months. Two-level random intercept models revealed interactions among temperament and coparenting, highlighting the family system as a context for how men and women adapt to their parenting role. There was little evidence for mother-father differences in these associations.
Coparenting; Infant Temperament; Depressive Symptoms; Parenting Stress; Parent Self-Efficacy; Family Systems
Breastfeeding is accepted as the natural form of infant feeding. For mothers to be able to breastfeed exclusively to the recommended six months, it is important to understand the factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding. The aim of the study was to identify factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding in Peninsular Malaysia.
This was a cross-sectional study involving 682 mother-infant pairs with infants up to six months attending maternal and child health section of the government health clinics in Klang, Malaysia. Data were collected by face-to-face interviews using a pre-tested structured questionnaire over 4 months in 2006. Data on breastfeeding were based on practice in the previous one month period. Logistic regression was used to assess the independent association between the independent variables and exclusive breastfeeding adjusting for infant age.
The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers with infants aged between one and six months was 43.1% (95% CI: 39.4, 46.8). In the multivariate model exclusive breastfeeding was positively associated with rural residence, Malay mothers, non-working and non-smoking mothers, multiparous mothers, term infants, mothers with husbands who support breastfeeding and mothers who practice bed-sharing.
Interventions that seek to increase exclusive breastfeeding should focus on women who are at risk of early discontinuation of breastfeeding.
Previous studies have found that breastfeeding may protect infants against future overweight. One proposed mechanism is that breastfeeding, compared with bottle-feeding, may promote maternal feeding styles that are less controlling and more responsive to infant cues of hunger and satiety, thereby allowing infants greater self-regulation of energy intake. The objective of this study was to examine whether preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding duration are associated with less maternal restrictive behavior and less pressure to eat.
We studied 1160 mother–infant pairs in Project Viva, an ongoing prospective cohort study of pregnant mothers and their children. The main outcome measures were mothers’ reports of restricting their children’s food intake and of pressuring their children to eat more food, as measured by a modified Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ) at 1 year postpartum. Restriction was defined by strongly agreeing or agreeing with the following question from the modified CFQ: “I have to be careful not to feed my child too much.” We derived a continuous pressure to eat score from 5 questions of the modified CFQ. We used multiple logistic regression to examine the association between preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life, breastfeeding duration, and mothers’ restriction of children’s access to food. We used multiple linear regression, both before and after adjusting for several groups of confounders, to predict the effects of breastfeeding on the mothers’ scores for pressuring their children to eat.
The mean (SD) age of the women was 32.4 (4.8) years; 24% of the women were nonwhite, and 32% were primigravidas. At 6 months postpartum, 24% of the mothers were exclusively breastfeeding, 25% were mixed feeding, 41% had weaned, and 10% had fed their infants formula only. The mean (SD) duration of breastfeeding was 6.3 (4.5) months. Thirteen percent of the mothers strongly agreed or agreed with the restriction question. The mean (SD) score on the pressure to eat scale was 5.3 (3.7), and the range was 0 to 20. After adjusting for mothers’ preexisting concerns about their children’s future eating and weight status, as well as sociodemographic, economic, and anthropometric predictors of breastfeeding duration, we found that the longer the mothers breastfed, the less likely they were to restrict their children’s food intake at age 1 year. The adjusted odds ratio was 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.84–0.95) for each 1-month increment in breastfeeding duration. In addition, we found that compared with mothers who were exclusively formula feeding, mothers who were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months of age had much lower odds of restricting their children’s food intake at 1 year (odds ratio: 0.27; 95% CI: 0.10–0.72). Preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding duration (β = −0.01 points on the 0–20 scale for each additional 1 month of breastfeeding [95% CI: −0.07 to 0.05]) were not related to mothers’ pressuring their children to eat more.
Mothers who fed their infants breast milk in early infancy and who breastfed for longer periods reported less restrictive behavior regarding child feeding at 1 year. Additional longitudinal studies should examine the extent to which any protective effect of breastfeeding on overweight is explained by decreased maternal feeding restriction.
This study examined the contributions of infant temperament, marital functioning, and the division of parenting on the quality of the coparenting relationship for couples parenting 6-month-old infants. Marital functioning was assessed prenatally. When infants were 6 months old, infant temperamental characteristics (i.e., distress to limits, distress to novelty, and soothability), division of parenting, and coparenting were rated by parents. Results indicated that the reactivity dimension of temperament was only associated with reduced coparenting quality if other stressors were present and these effects were different for mothers and fathers. Mothers who perceived their infants as more reactive only reported more negative coparenting if their infants were also not easily soothed or if mothers were dissatisfied with how parenting tasks were divided and performed given their prior expectations. Whereas fathers reported more negative coparenting when faced with a more reactive infant and they reported a low quality marital relationship.
coparenting; infant temperament; transition to parenthood; marital quality
Temperament is usually considered biologically based and largely inherited, however the environment can shape the development of temperament. Allelic variation may confer differential sensitivity to early environment resulting in variations in temperament. Here we explore the relationship between measures of temperament in mothers and their first-born offspring and the role of genetic sensitivity in establishing the strength of these associations. Temperament ratings were conducted on 3-4 month old rhesus monkeys after a 25-hour biobehavioral assessment. Factor analysis revealed a four factor structure of temperament. Females assessed as infants have reproduced and their offspring have also been evaluated through the standardized testing paradigm. Canonical correlation analysis revealed statistically significant associations between factor scores of mothers and sons, but not mothers and daughters. Further, offspring possessing the high activity, “low risk”, alleles of the rhMAOA-LPR or rh5-HTTLPR showed statistically significant canonical correlations, whereas those possessing other alleles did not, suggesting differential genetic sensitivity to the normative early experience of maternal temperament.
personality; nonhuman primate; intergenerational; Macaca mulatta; alleles; genetics; behavior; early experience; environment; animal; sensitivity
Scholars acknowledge that both biologically-founded child temperament and environmental factors are influential in determining the quality of infant–mother attachment. Wepresent evidence for gene by environment (G × E) interaction in the organization of attachment.
Participants were 88 typically developing infants and their mothers. Molecular genetic measures of the infants focused on the polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR, ss/sl vs. ll genotype). Mothers’ responsiveness to their infants at 7 months was observed in lengthy naturalistic interactions, and was conceptualized as the environmental influence.
For infants with a short allele (ss/sl ), variation in mothers’ responsiveness was significantly associated with attachment security, assessed at 15 months in the Strange Situation. For those infants, low responsiveness predicted particularly high risk for insecure attachment, and high responsiveness offset that risk. For infants homozygous for the long allele (ll ), there was no association between responsiveness and attachment organization.
The findings show that the quality of early care serves to amplify or offset the risk conferred by genotype.
G × E interaction; attachment; maternal responsiveness; 5-HTTLPR; parent; child relationships
Few studies of temperament have tested goodness-of-fit theories of child behavior problems. In this study, we test the hypothesis that interactions between child and parent temperament dimensions predict levels of child psychopathology after controlling for the effects of these dimensions individually.
Temperament and psychopathology were assessed in a total of 175 children (97 boys, 78 girls; mean age, 10.99 years; SD, 3.66 years) using composite scores from multiple informants of the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory and the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment. Parent temperament was assessed using the adult version of the Temperament and Character Inventory. Statistical analyses included multiple regression procedures to assess the contribution of child-parent temperament interactions after controlling for demographic variables, other types of child psychopathology, and the individual Temperament and Character Inventory and Junior Temperament and Character Inventory dimensions.
Interactions between child and parent temperament dimensions predicted higher levels of externalizing, internalizing, and attention problems over and above the effects of these dimensions alone. Among others, the combination of high child novelty seeking with high maternal novelty was associated with child attention problems, whereas the combination of high child harm avoidance and high father harm avoidance was associated with increased child internalizing problems. Many child temperament dimensions also exerted significant effects independently.
The association between a child temperament trait and psychopathology can be dependent upon the temperament of parents. These data lend support to previous theories of the importance of goodness-of-fit.
The relations of cumulative demographic risk and children’s temperament to mothers’ parenting behaviors were examined when children were 18 (T1, n = 247) and 30 (T2, n = 216) months of age. Mothers, nonparental caregivers (e.g., child care providers), and observers reported on children’s temperament to create a temperament composite, and mothers reported on demographic risk variables. Maternal responsivity and control were observed during 2 mother–child interactions at both time points. Cumulative demographic risk was related to low maternal responsivity concurrently and longitudinally, even after controlling for earlier temperament and responsivity, and demographic risk was positively related to maternal control at T1 and T2. Regulated temperament (i.e., low frustration and high regulation) was linked with high maternal responsivity at T1 and T2 and low maternal control at T2. Moreover, the positive relation between cumulative risk and maternal control at T1 was stronger when children were viewed as less regulated.
To determine the contribution of infant temperament to the relationship between maternal sleep disturbance and depressive symptoms. Utilizing a repeated measures design, 112 couples recruited from childbirth education classes were assessed in third trimester and postpartum. Instruments included Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, General Sleep Disturbance Scale, wrist actigraphy, and an investigator-developed tool to assess infant temperament completed by mothers and fathers. Regardless of infant temperament, mothers who slept < 4 h between midnight and 6 am and mothers who napped < 60 min during the day were at increased risk for depression at three months postpartum. Infant temperament was associated with maternal sleep but was not a significant predictor of depressive symptoms after controlling for other contextual factors. Postpartum clinical visits should include questions about maternal sleep so interventions can be directed toward sufficient sleep to minimize risk of postpartum depression.
Pregnancy; Postpartum depression; Infant; Temperament; Wrist actigraphy; Sleep; Mothers; Fathers
The primary goal of this study was to examine contextual, child, and maternal factors that are associated with mothers’ early emotion talk in an ethnically diverse, low-income sample.
Emotion talk (positive and negative labels) was coded for 1111 mothers while engaged with their 7-month-olds in viewing an emotion-faces picture book. Infant attention during the interaction was also coded. Mothers’ parenting style (positive engagement and negative intrusiveness) was coded during a dyadic free-play interaction. Demographic information was obtained, as well as maternal ratings of child temperament and mother’s knowledge of infant development.
Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that social context and maternal qualities are significant predictors of mothers’ early positive and negative emotion talk. In particular, mothers who were African American, had higher income, and who showed more positive engagement when interacting with their infants demonstrated increased rates of positive and negative emotion talk with their infants. For negative emotion talk, social context variables moderated other predictors. Specifically, infant attention was positively associated with negative emotion talk only for African American mothers, and knowledge of infant development was positively associated with negative emotion talk only for non-African American mothers. The positive association between maternal positive engagement and negative emotion talk was greater for lower-income families than for higher-income families.
Mothers’ emotion language with infants is not sensitive to child factors but is associated with social contextual factors and characteristics of the mothers themselves.
Researchers have speculated that a number of factors likely predict the quality of reminiscing between preschool children and their mothers. This study was designed to investigate three such factors, including child temperament, maternal personality, and maternal caregiving representations. 70 mothers and their preschool children were recruited for the study. When the child was 42 months of age, mothers completed measures of her personality and the child’s temperament. Mothers also took part in the shortened Parent Development Inventory that was coded for coherence, pleasure, comfort, and perspective taking. At both 42 and 48 months, the mother-child dyad reminisced about a past event in which the child experienced a negative emotion. These conversations were coded for the amount of maternal elaboration, the discussion of emotion, and dyadic qualities (such as collaboration and intersubjectivity). At 42 months, aspects of maternal personality and child temperament were most associated with reminiscing quality. However, at 48 months, it was primarily maternal representations of relationships that predicted high quality reminiscing in the dyad.
The relations of infant temperament and parents' marital satisfaction to mother and father involvement in early (T1, approximately 7 months, n = 142) and later (T2, approximately 14 months, n = 95) infancy were examined. At each assessment point, mothers and fathers completed daily diaries together to measure their involvement over four days (i.e., 2 weekdays and 2 weekend days), each partner reported on marital satisfaction, and mothers reported on infants' temperament. Structural equation models indicated that when infants were more temperamentally regulated, parents were more satisfied in their marital relationships. Parents' marital satisfaction mediated the association between more regulated infant temperament and greater mother involvement at T1 (but not at T2) and father involvement at T2 (but not at T1). The findings are discussed in terms of the implications of infant temperament and family relationships for parental involvement.
infant temperament; marital satisfaction; mother and father involvement