Maternal Cognitions and Mother–Infant Interaction in Postnatal Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.86). 01/2012; 121(4). DOI: 10.1037/a0026847
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Postnatal depression and anxiety have been shown to increase the risk of disturbances in mother-child interaction and child development. Research into mechanisms has focused on genetics and maternal behavior; maternal cognitions have received little attention. Our aim was to experimentally determine if worry and rumination in mothers with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD), diagnosed in the postnatal 6 months, interfered with maternal responsiveness to their 10-month old infants. Mothers (N = 253: GAD n = 90; MDD n = 57; control n = 106) and their infants were randomized to either a worry/rumination prime (WRP) or a neutral prime (NP); mother-infant interactions were assessed before and after priming. Type of priming was a significant predictor of maternal cognitions, with WRP resulting in more negative thoughts, higher thought recurrence and more self-focus relative to NP across the entire sample. Interaction effects between group and priming were significant for two parenting variables: Compared with controls, WRP had a more negative impact on maternal responsiveness to infant vocalization for GAD, and to a lesser extent for MDD; WRP led to decreased maternal vocalization for GAD. Also, mothers with GAD used stronger control after the NP than WRP, as well as compared with other groups, and overall post-priming, their children exhibited lower emotional tone and more withdrawal. Across the entire sample, WRP was associated with increased child vocalization relative to NP. This study demonstrated that disturbances in maternal cognitions, in the context of postnatal anxiety and to a lesser degree depression, play a significant role in mother-child interaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Postnatal depression is associated with poorer parenting quality, but there are few studies examining maternal-specific cognitive processes that may impact on parenting quality. In this study, we examined the impact of rumination on parental problem-solving effectiveness in dysphoric and non-dysphoric postnatal mothers.Methods Fifty-nine mothers with a infant aged 12 months and under, 20 of whom had a Beck Depression Score II (BDI-II) score ≥ 14, and 39 who scored less than 14 on the BDI-II were randomly assigned to either a rumination or distraction condition. Problem-solving effectiveness was assessed post-induction with the “Postnatal Parental Problem-Solving Task” (PPST), which was adapted from the Means Ends Problem-solving task. Parental problem-solving confidence was also assessed.ResultsDysphoric ruminating mothers exhibited poorer problem-solving effectiveness and poorer confidence regarding their problem-solving compared to dysphoric distracting, non-dysphoric distracting, and non-dysphoric ruminating mothers.LimitationsA self-report measure of depressed mood was used.Conclusions Rumination may be a key mechanism associated with both depressive mood and maternal parenting quality during the postnatal period.
    Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 11/2014; 47. DOI:10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.09.007 · 2.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Impaired social functioning is a well-established feature of depression. Evidence to date suggests that disrupted processing of emotional cues may constitute part of this impairment. Beyond processing of emotional cues, fluent social interactions require that people physically move in synchronized, contingent ways. Disruptions to physical movements are a diagnostic feature of depression (psychomotor disturbance) but have not previously been assessed in the context of social functioning. Here we investigated the impact of psychomotor disturbance in depression on physical responsive behavior in both an experimental and observational setting. In Experiment 1, we examined motor disturbance in depression in response to salient emotional sounds, using a laboratory-based effortful motor task. In Experiment 2, we explored whether psychomotor disturbance was apparent in real-life social interactions. Using mother-infant interactions as a model affective social situation, we compared physical behaviors of mothers with and without postnatal depression (PND). We found impairments in precise, controlled psychomotor performance in adults with depression relative to healthy adults (Experiment 1). Despite this disruption, all adults showed enhanced performance following exposure to highly salient emotional cues (infant cries). Examining real-life interactions, we found differences in physical movements, namely reduced affective touching, in mothers with PND responding to their infants, compared to healthy mothers (Experiment 2). Together, these findings suggest that psychomotor disturbance may be an important feature of depression that can impair social functioning. Future work investigating whether improvements in physical movement in depression could have a positive impact on social interactions would be of much interest.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 02/2015; 9:26. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00026 · 4.16 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rumination is a cognitive process that involves repetitively focusing on the causes, situational factors and consequences of one's negative emotion, and it is a potent risk factor for depression. Parental depression and neuroticism may exert an influence on offspring's development of rumination, which may increase offspring's risk for depression. The current study included 375 biological parent–offspring dyads. Parents were assessed for depressive symptoms and neuroticism; adult offspring were assessed for depressive symptoms and rumination. Structural equation modelling was used to examine the effects of parental depressive symptoms and parental neuroticism on adult offspring's depression, and to determine whether offspring's rumination mediated this relationship. Results provided evidence that offspring's rumination fully mediated the relationship between parental neuroticism and offspring's depressive symptoms. Parental depressive symptoms and neuroticism may contribute a genetic predisposition for depressive symptoms in offspring, but it also may promote an environment in which maladaptive cognitive processes, such as rumination, are learned. Given the role that rumination plays in mediating the association between neuroticism and depressive symptoms—targeting rumination in the treatment of high risk individuals would be important in reducing onset of depressive disorders. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Personality and Mental Health 10/2014; 8(4). DOI:10.1002/pmh.1268 · 1.10 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 28, 2014