[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anxious mothers’ parenting, particularly transfer of threat information, has been considered important in their children’s risk for social anxiety disorder (SAnxD), and maternal narratives concerning potential social threat could elucidate this contribution.
Maternal narratives to their pre-school 4-5 year-old children, via a picture book about starting school, were assessed in socially anxious (N=73), and non-anxious (N=63) mothers. Child representations of school were assessed via Doll Play (DP). After one school term, mothers (CBCL) and teachers (TRF) reported on child internalizing problems, and child SAnxD was assessed via maternal interview. Relations between these variables, infant behavioral inhibition, and attachment, were examined.
Socially anxious mothers showed more negative (higher threat attribution), and less supportive (lower encouragement) narratives, than controls, and their children’s DP representations, SAnxD and CBCL scores were more adverse. High narrative threat predicted child SAnxD; lower encouragement predicted negative child CBCL scores and, particularly for behaviorally inhibited children, TRF scores and DP representations. In securely attached children, CBCL scores and risk for SAnxD were affected by maternal anxiety and threat attributions, respectively. Low encouragement mediated the effects of maternal anxiety on child DP representations, and CBCL scores.
Maternal narratives are affected by social anxiety, and contribute to adverse child outcome.
Development and Psychopathology 01/2014; · 4.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is evidence that a young child's risk of dying increases following the mother's death, but little is known about the risk when the mother becomes very ill prior to her death. We hypothesized that children would be more likely to die during the period several months before their mother's death, as well as for several months after her death. Therefore we investigated the relationship between young children's likelihood of dying and the timing of their mother's death and, in particular, the existence of a critical period of increased risk.
Data from a health and socio-demographic surveillance system in rural South Africa were collected on children 0-5 y of age from 1 January 1994 to 31 December 2008. Discrete time survival analysis was used to estimate children's probability of dying before and after their mother's death, accounting for moderators. 1,244 children (3% of sample) died from 1994 to 2008. The probability of child death began to rise 6-11 mo prior to the mother's death and increased markedly during the 2 mo immediately before the month of her death (odds ratio [OR] 7.1 [95% CI 3.9-12.7]), in the month of her death (OR 12.6 [6.2-25.3]), and during the 2 mo following her death (OR 7.0 [3.2-15.6]). This increase in the probability of dying was more pronounced for children whose mothers died of AIDS or tuberculosis compared to other causes of death, but the pattern remained for causes unrelated to AIDS/tuberculosis. Infants aged 0-6 mo at the time of their mother's death were nine times more likely to die than children aged 2-5 y. The limitations of the study included the lack of knowledge about precisely when a very ill mother will die, a lack of information about child nutrition and care, and the diagnosis of AIDS deaths by verbal autopsy rather than serostatus.
Young children in lower income settings are more likely to die not only after their mother's death but also in the months before, when she is seriously ill. Interventions are urgently needed to support families both when the mother becomes very ill and after her death. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
PLoS Medicine 03/2013; 10(3):e1001409. · 15.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Child social anxiety is common, and predicts later emotional and academic impairment. Offspring of socially anxious mothers are at increased risk. It is important to establish whether individual vulnerability to disorder can be identified in young children. The responses of 4.5 year-old children of mothers with social phobia (N = 62) and non-anxious mothers (N = 60) were compared, two months before school entry, using a Doll Play (DP) procedure focused on the social challenge of starting school. DP responses were examined in relation to teacher reports of anxious-depressed symptoms and social worries at the end of the child's first school term. The role of earlier child behavioral inhibition and attachment, assessed at 14 months, was also considered. Compared to children of non-anxious mothers, children of mothers with social phobia were significantly more likely to give anxiously negative responses in their school DP (OR = 2.57). In turn, negative DP predicted teacher reported anxious-depressed and social worry problems. There were no effects of infant behavioral inhibition or attachment. Vulnerability in young children at risk of anxiety can be identified using Doll Play narratives.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been increasing research interest in parenting by anxious adults; however, little is known about anxiety-subtype effects, or effects of the context in which parenting is assessed.
Two groups of anxious mothers, social phobia (N = 50), generalised anxiety disorder (N = 38), and nonanxious controls (N = 62) were assessed with their 4.9-year-old children in three tasks: two presented threat specifically relevant to each maternal disorder, namely, a social threat task where the child had to give a speech, and a nonsocial threat task where the child had to explore potentially scary objects; the third was a nonthreat task (playing with play dough). Seven parenting dimensions were scored. Effects on parenting of maternal anxiety subgroup and task, and their interactions, were examined, as were effects of earlier child behavioural inhibition and currently manifest anxiety.
There were no parenting differences between maternal groups in the nonthreat play-dough task; parenting difficulties in the two anxious groups were principally evident in the disorder-specific challenge. Parenting differences between nonanxious and anxious mothers occurred independently of child characteristics. There was little evidence for particular forms of parenting difficulty being unique to maternal disorder.
Anxious mothers' parenting difficulties emerge when occurring under challenge, especially when this is disorder-specific. These effects should be considered in research and clinical practice.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 02/2012; 53(2):188-96. · 5.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies have shown an increase in intelligence test scores across decades – the "Flynn effect". Nevertheless, the fact that this effect has not been consistently observed when different sources of cognitive ability are used is one of the main topics of discussion. Thus, the present research aimed to shed some light on this issue. Two studies using different cognitive ability measures were designed in order to control for potential measure effects. Children were Brazilian, aged between 6-12 years. The first study had the Draw-a-Person test as a measure of intelligence; 294 children were assessed during 1980 decade, whilst 203 were assessed during the 2000 decade. The second study used the Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices. A total of
Revista latinoamericana de psicología 01/2012; 44(3):9-18. · 0.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Difficulties in mother-child interaction are commonly observed in the context of postnatal depression. These difficulties may result in part from the negative cognitive bias present in depression, which may in turn lead to biased negative perceptions of the infant: in particular, these biases encompass the negative appraisal of facial expressions. Given the important role of early mother-child interactions in child development it is vital to investigate potential interventions that might be beneficial in ameliorating the negative cognitive bias. This study aimed to examine the effects of two different antidepressants (reboxetine and citalopram) on the appraisal of infant facial expressions of emotion using a faces rating task, and on attention to infant emotion using an attentional probe. Thirty-nine volunteers were randomly assigned to a double-blind 7-day intervention with either placebo, citalopram or reboxetine. There were significant positive effects on the appraisal of facial expressions; participants assigned to the placebo group rated positive faces less positively than those either in the citalopram or in the reboxetine groups. However, there was no evidence that these drugs had an effect on attentional vigilance. If antidepressants are able to help a mother to perceive her infant's facial expressions as more positive, this may lead to more positive interactions, thereby potentially mitigating the negative effects of depression on infant development. These findings should be treated with caution until replicated in larger and clinical samples.
Journal of Psychopharmacology 09/2011; 26(5):670-6. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postnatally depressed mothers have difficulties responding appropriately to their infants. The quality of the mother-child relationship depends on a mother's ability to respond to her infant's cues, which are largely non-verbal. Therefore, it is likely that difficulties in a mother's appraisal of her infants' facial expressions will affect the quality of mother-infant interaction. This study aimed to investigate the effects of postnatal depression and anxiety on the processing of infants' facial expressions.
A total of 89 mothers, 34 with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, 21 with Major Depressive Disorder, and 34 controls, completed a 'morphed infants' faces task when their children were between 10 and 18 months.
Overall, mothers were more likely to identify happy faces accurately and at lower intensity than sad faces. Depressed compared to control participants, however, were less likely to accurately identify happy infant faces. Interestingly, mothers with GAD tended to identify happy faces at a lower intensity than controls. There were no differences between the groups in relation to sad faces.
Our sample was relatively small and further research is needed to investigate the links between mothers' perceptions of infant expressions and both maternal responsiveness and later measures of child development.
Our findings have potential clinical implications as the difficulties in the processing of positive facial expressions in depression may lead to less maternal responsiveness to positive affect in the offspring and may diminish the quality of the mother-child interactions. Results for participants with GAD are consistent with the literature demonstrating that persons with GAD are intolerant of uncertainty and seek reassurance due to their worries.
Journal of affective disorders 06/2011; 133(1-2):197-203. · 3.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the developmental risk pathway to depression by 16 years in offspring of postnatally depressed mothers.
This was a prospective longitudinal study of offspring of postnatally depressed and nondepressed mothers; child and family assessments were made from infancy to 16 years. A total of 702 mothers were screened, and probable cases interviewed. In all, 58 depressed mothers (95% of identified cases) and 42 nondepressed controls were recruited. A total of 93% were assessed through to 16-year follow-up. The main study outcome was offspring lifetime clinical depression (major depression episode and dysthymia) by 16 years, assessed via interview at 8, 13, and 16 years. It was analysed in relation to postnatal depression, repeated measures of child vulnerability (insecure infant attachment and lower childhood resilience), and family adversity.
Children of index mothers were more likely than controls to experience depression by 16 years (41.5% versus 12.5%; odds ratio = 4.99; 95% confidence interval = 1.68-14.70). Lower childhood resilience predicted adolescent depression, and insecure infant attachment influenced adolescent depression via lower resilience (model R(2) = 31%). Family adversity added further to offspring risk (expanded model R(2) = 43%).
Offspring of postnatally depressed mothers are at increased risk for depression by 16 years of age. This may be partially explained by within child vulnerability established in infancy and the early years, and by exposure to family adversity. Routine screening for postnatal depression, and parenting support for postnatally depressed mothers, might reduce offspring developmental risks for clinical depression in childhood and adolescence.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 05/2011; 50(5):460-70. · 4.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the relations between the Five-Factor Model of personality, psychopathy, alexithymia and stress in 205 technology students. Students completed four tests: the NEO Personality Inventory Revised, the Levinson Self-report Psychopathy Scale, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale and the Recognize Sign of Stress. Multiple regression analyses revealed that Agreeableness and Conscientiousness were significant predictors of total scores of psychopathy, and Openness was a significant predictor of alexithymia. Path analyses indicated that apart from Openness, all personality traits were significant to the model, and stress acted as a mediator between Neuroticism and alexithymia.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postnatal depression (PND) is associated with poor cognitive functioning in infancy and the early school years; long-term effects on academic outcome are not known.
Children of postnatally depressed (N = 50) and non-depressed mothers (N = 39), studied from infancy, were followed up at 16 years. We examined the effects on General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exam performance of maternal depression (postnatal and subsequent) and IQ, child sex and earlier cognitive development, and mother-child interactions, using structural equation modelling (SEM).
Boys, but not girls, of PND mothers had poorer GCSE results than control children. This was principally accounted for by effects on early child cognitive functioning, which showed strong continuity from infancy. PND had continuing negative effects on maternal interactions through childhood, and these also contributed to poorer GCSE performance. Neither chronic, nor recent, exposure to maternal depression had significant effects.
The adverse effects of PND on male infants' cognitive functioning may persist through development. Continuing difficulties in mother-child interactions are also important, suggesting that both early intervention and continuing monitoring of mothers with PND may be warranted.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 10/2010; 51(10):1150-9. · 5.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 'Baby-talk' is common across cultures. It underpins infant vocal preferences, and helps regulate infant engagement. Its longer-term significance is unclear. In a longitudinal study, we found indications of 'sadness' in postnatally depressed mothers' baby-talk statistically mediated effects of maternal depression on offspring adolescent affective disorder.
Infant behavior & development 06/2010; 33(3):361-4. · 1.34 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postnatal maternal depression is associated with difficulties in maternal responsiveness. As most signals arising from the infant come from facial expressions one possible explanation for these difficulties is that mothers with postnatal depression are differentially affected by particular infant facial expressions. Thus, this study investigates the effects of postnatal depression on mothers' perceptions of infant facial expressions. Participants (15 controls, 15 depressed and 15 anxious mothers) were asked to rate a number of infant facial expressions, ranging from very positive to very negative. Each face was shown twice, for a short and for a longer period of time in random order. Results revealed that mothers used more extreme ratings when shown the infant faces (i.e. more negative or more positive) for a longer period of time. Mothers suffering from postnatal depression were more likely to rate negative infant faces shown for a longer period more negatively than controls. The differences were specific to depression rather than an effect of general postnatal psychopathology-as no differences were observed between anxious mothers and controls. There were no other significant differences in maternal ratings of infant faces showed for short periods or for positive or neutral valence faces of either length. The findings that mothers with postnatal depression rate negative infant faces more negatively indicate that appraisal bias might underlie some of the difficulties that these mothers have in responding to their own infants signals.
Infant behavior & development 04/2010; 33(3):273-8. · 1.34 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three UK studies on the relationship between a purpose‐built instrument to assess the importance and development of 15 ‘soft skills’ are reported. Study 1 (N = 444) identified strong latent components underlying these soft skills, such that differences between‐skills were over‐shadowed by differences between‐students. Importance and improving ratings on these skills predicted academic performance and accounted for the effects of personality on academic performance. Study 2 replicated the structure of the soft skills inventory and associations with academic performance in a larger sample (N = 1309). Examination of mean differences across faculties (humanities, life sciences, hard sciences) revealed higher soft skills ratings in ‘softer’ courses. Study 3 (N = 87) incorporated an IQ measure, which was found to be negatively related to importance ratings on soft skills. Results highlight the cohesive structure of beliefs concerning various non‐academic skills and their significant links to educationally relevant individual differences. Theoretical, methodological and applied implications are considered.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated one of the Draw-a-Person test (DAP) indicators: the sex of the first-drawn figure. The developmental trajectory of same-sex figures was explored in a control sample, while the association between opposite-sex figures and psychopathology was investigated in a clinical sample. Participants were 606 children (6–12 years old) divided into two groups: clinical and control. More than 70% of children drew figures of their own sex first. Within the control sample, the frequency of opposite-sex figures was over 17%. Thus, drawing the opposite sex first was not confirmed as an indicator of emotional difficulties. Nevertheless, the impossibility to identify the sex of the first figure emerged as an emotional indicator and a new DAP indicator was proposed: undefined sex.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study is part of a programmatic research effort into the determinants of self-assessed abilities. It examined cross-cultural differences in beliefs about intelligence and self- and other-estimated intelligence in two countries at extreme ends of the European continent. In all, 172 British and 272 Turkish students completed a three-part questionnaire where they estimated their parents', partners' and own multiple intelligences (Gardner (10) and Sternberg (3)). They also completed a measure of the 'big five' personality scales and rated six questions about intelligence. The British sample had more experience with IQ tests than the Turks. The majority of participants in both groups did not believe in sex differences in intelligence but did think there were race differences. They also believed that intelligence was primarily inherited. Participants rated their social and emotional intelligence highly (around one standard deviation above the norm). Results suggested that there were more cultural than sex differences in all the ratings, with various interactions mainly due to the British sample differentiating more between the sexes than the Turks. Males rated their overall, verbal, logical, spatial, creative and practical intelligence higher than females. Turks rated their musical, body-kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence as well as existential, naturalistic, emotional, creative, and practical intelligence higher than the British. There was evidence of participants rating their fathers' intelligence on most factors higher than their mothers'. Factor analysis of the ten Gardner intelligences yield two clear factors: cognitive and social intelligence. The first factor was impacted by sex but not culture; it was the other way round for the second factor. Regressions showed that five factors predicted overall estimates: sex (male), age (older), test experience (has done tests), extraversion (strong) and openness (strong). Results are discussed in terms of the growing literature in the field.
International Journal of Psychology 12/2009; 44(6):434-42. · 0.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children with cleft lip are known to be at raised risk for socio-emotional difficulties, but the nature of these problems and their causes are incompletely understood; longitudinal studies are required that include comprehensive assessment of child functioning, and consideration of developmental mechanisms.
Children with cleft lip (with and without cleft palate) (N = 93) and controls (N = 77), previously studied through infancy, were followed up at 7 years, and their socio-emotional functioning assessed using teacher and maternal reports, observations of social interactions, and child social representations (doll play). Direct and moderating effects of infant attachment and current parenting were investigated, as was the role of child communication difficulties and attractiveness.
Children with clefts had raised rates of teacher-reported social problems, and anxious and withdrawn-depressed behaviour; direct observations and child representations also revealed difficulties in social relationships. Child communication problems largely accounted for these effects, especially in children with cleft palate as well as cleft lip. Insecure attachment contributed to risk in both index and control groups, and a poorer current parenting environment exacerbated the difficulties of those with clefts.
Children with clefts are at raised risk for socio-emotional difficulties in the school years; clinical interventions should focus on communication problems and supporting parenting; specific interventions around the transition to school may be required. More generally, the findings reflect the importance of communication skills for children's peer relations.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 11/2009; 51(1):94-103. · 5.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study examined the sociocultural adjustment of 249 sojourning Malaysian undergraduates in Britain. One-hundred and ten Malay and 139 Chinese students enrolled in various courses answered a self-report questionnaire that examined various aspects of sociocultural adjustment and socio-demographics. Overall, Malay students reported significantly poorer sociocultural adjustment than Chinese students, as well as more negative outcomes on a range of predictors. Path analysis for the total sample showed that higher family income led to greater sociocultural adjustment, but partially because it led to more contact with host and conationals, better language proficiency, lower perceived cultural differences and less perceived discrimination. Moreover, participants with higher English proficiency were better adapted, but partially because they perceived less cultural differences as well as having more contact with host nationals. Additionally, individuals reporting better sociocultural adjustment also reported better health statuses. The same model was equally useful at predicting sociocultural adjustment for both Malay and Chinese participants. These results are discussed in terms of the role played by income in buffering against the negative aspects of sociocultural adjustment.
Social Psychiatry 05/2009; 45(1):57-65. · 2.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Students (n = 328) from US and UK universities completed four self‐report measures related to intellectual competence: typical intellectual engagement (TIE), openness to experience, self‐assessed intelligence (SAI), and learning approaches. Confirmatory data reduction was used to examine the structure of TIE and supported five major factors: reading and information seeking, intellectual avoidance, directed complex problem solving, abstract thinking, and intellectual pursuits as a primary focus. These factors were significantly and positively associated with deep learning, openness, and SAI, and negatively related to surface learning. Other correlates of TIE were more factor‐dependent. In general, correlations suggested that TIE is related to, but different from, the other intellectual competence constructs examined. Results are discussed in relation to the typical performance approach to intelligence and the importance of TIE with regards to the intrinsic motivation to learn.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined the accuracy of self‐ and other‐estimated intelligence in relation to tested cognitive ability and gender. Three groups of raters were examined: 187 (102 male, 85 female; mean age 14.33 years, SD = .32) pupils of single‐sex comprehensive schools, 109 (55 mothers and 54 fathers) parents, and six teachers of the pupils. Pupils estimated their own overall IQ, while their parents and teachers estimated the pupils’ overall, mathematical, spatial, and verbal abilities. Self‐ and other‐estimates were compared to each other, and to the child’s psychometric test scores in verbal, quantitative, and figural/non‐verbal reasoning ability. Results suggested that participants were reasonably accurate at estimating pupils’ intelligence – teachers significantly more so than parents, and pupils significantly more so than fathers. Although both parents significantly overestimated their child’s IQ, this overestimation was more pronounced in fathers.