Annie Bernier

Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (67)117.64 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the moderating role of infant sleep in the connections between maternal sensitivity and three indicators of infant functioning: attachment security, theory of mind, and executive functioning (EF). Maternal sensitivity was assessed when infants (27 girls and 36 boys) were 1 year of age. Infant sleep was assessed with actigraphy at age 2; attachment security, theory of mind, and EF were also assessed at age 2. Results indicated that maternal sensitivity was positively related to attachment security only among infants who got more sleep at night, and to conflict-EF and theory of mind only for infants who got greater proportions of their sleep during the night. These results suggest that sleep may enhance the benefits of maternal sensitivity for some aspects of infants’ functioning, providing further support for the importance of sleep maturation as a salient developmental task of infancy.
    Infant Behavior and Development. 11/2014; 37(4):682–694.
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    ABSTRACT: Les enfants victimes d’une agression sexuelle présentent fréquemment des difficultés d’adaptation après le dévoilement, autant des problèmes intériorisés qu’extériorisés (Rakow, Smith, Begle & Ayer, 2011; Trask, Walsh & DiLillo, 2011). Certaines études démontrent également que les variables parentales sont susceptibles de jouer un rôle important dans l’apparition de difficultés chez l’enfant (Kouyoumdjian, Perry & Hansen, 2009). Le sentiment de compétence du parent non agresseur ainsi que la qualité du lien d’attachement qui caractérise la relation qu’entretient l’enfant avec son parent ont été peu explorés pour expliquer l’adaptation des enfants victimes après leur agression. L’objectif de la présente étude est d’examiner le lien entre le sentiment de compétence parentale, la qualité de l’attachement de l’enfant et la présence de problèmes intériorisés et extériorisés chez 96 enfants victimes d’agressions sexuelles d’âge préscolaire. Les analyses indiquent que la qualité de l’attachement, telle qu’évaluée par le Tri-de-cartes rempli par la mère, contribue a` prédire la présence de problèmes de comportement. Ainsi, plus un enfant victime aura développé un attachement sécurisant envers son parent, moins l’enfant présentera des problèmes intériorisés et extériorisés. Les résultats démontrent également que le sentiment de compétence parentale, c’est-a`-dire sa perception de l’aide et du soutien qu’il peut offrir a` son enfant, ne contribue pas a` l’adaptation de l’enfant victime d’une agression sexuelle, sauf dans le cas des troubles extériorisés. Nos résultats nous amènent a` souligner l’importance des interventions qui ont pour objectif d’améliorer la relation parent-enfant et de favoriser la sensibilité maternelle dans les familles touchées par une agression sexuelle.
    Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 10/2014; · 0.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article describes a video-feedback intervention program with maltreating parents and their children aged 1 to 5 years using a case-study approach. The 8-week program is of interest to researchers and clinicians because it is the first short-term attachment-based intervention program to demonstrate efficacy in enhancing parental sensitivity, improving child attachment security, and reducing disorganized attachment for children and parents who have been reported for child abuse and/or neglect. We have previously described the theoretical and empirical basis of the intervention program and evidence for its efficacy. Details of program implementation and a case study are currently presented.
    Attachment & Human Development 08/2014; 16(4):329-42. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to assess disorganized states of mind in a sample of neglecting and at-risk of neglecting mothers using the recently developed Hostile-Helpless (HH) coding system (Lyons-Ruth et al., 2006) for the Adult Attachment Interview (Main & Goldwyn, 1998). The relation between HH states of mind and mothers’ childhood traumas was also examined. Participants were 70 neglecting mothers and at-risk of neglecting mothers. Childhood traumas were assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. HH states of mind were coded from Adult Attachment Interview transcripts by two reliable coders. Results revealed a high prevalence of disorganized states of mind in this sample. Forty-five mothers were classified HH, representing 64% of the entire sample. Most mothers reported at least one form of childhood trauma, with a mean of 2.9 different forms of trauma. Mothers classified HH reported having been emotionally abused, sexually abused and physically neglected more frequently than non-HH mothers. There was no difference between neglecting and at-risk of neglect mothers on HH states of mind and childhood experiences of trauma. These findings are in line with theorization on maltreating mothers’ psychological background and they provide further empirical support to the validation of the HH classification system with at-risk populations.
    Child abuse & neglect 08/2014; · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT There is compelling evidence that the quality of maternal and paternal parenting behavior bears critical importance for child development. Yet, less is known of the degree of similarity between maternal and paternal parenting behavior in families, and especially little is known about the factors that may explain variation in degrees of similarity. This article aims to examine (a) the concordance (similarity) between the quality of mothers' and fathers' interactive behavior with their child and (b) the sociodemographic determinants of this concordance. The sample included 74 families (mother, father, and their child). The quality of maternal and paternal interactive behavior was assessed independently, and rated with the Maternal Behavior Q-Sort (mother-infant, 12 months; D. R. Pederson et al., 1990) or the Mutually Responsive Orientation scale (father-toddler, 18 months; N. Aksan et al., 2006). The results indicated that the overall correlation between the quality of mothers' and fathers' behavior was moderate. The concordance was greater among higher socioeconomic status families or when interacting with a boy, but did not differ according to the presence or absence of siblings in the family.
    The Journal of Genetic Psychology 07/2014; 175(4):346-362. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study is a follow-up to a previous study that examined two aspects of mother-child relationships-mothers' mind-mindedness and infant attachment security-in relation to toddlers' early manifestations of theory of mind understanding at 2years of age. The current study aimed to assess the same two aspects of mother-child relationships in relation to children's (N=59) theory of mind performance at 4years of age. Results of the current study confirmed and expanded on relations observed at 2years. Mothers' use of appropriate mind-related comments specifically during toy-based free play at 12months of age predicted preschoolers' understanding of false belief and Level 2 visual perspective taking over and above earlier perspective-taking abilities. Furthermore, more securely attached boys, but not girls, performed better on a task requiring Level 2 visual perspective taking. The similarity of results across the two time points suggests the reliability of associations among mothers' use of mind-related comments during toy-based play, boys' attachment security, and children's subsequent social understanding. The current results also suggest that maternal mind-mindedness may be most relevant to children's social cognition when assessed in toy-based play contexts.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 05/2014; 125C:48-62. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The authors aimed to investigate the prospective links between normative variation in fathers' marital satisfaction and the observed quality of father-toddler interactions, as well as the moderating role of child gender in these associations. Sixty-three fathers reported on their marital satisfaction when their children were 15 months of age, and were observed interacting with their child at 18 months. The results suggested that marital satisfaction was positively associated with the quality of father-son interactions, while no relations emerged among fathers of girls. These findings reiterate the importance of marital relationships for the quality of fathers' parenting, while reaffirming previous suggestions that the role of child gender in the marriage-parenting connections requires further investigation.
    The Journal of Genetic Psychology 03/2014; 175(1-2):105-17. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This report aimed to investigate the capacity of maternal behaviors tailored to children's attachment and exploration systems to jointly explain the well-known mother–child transmission of attachment. Four home visits were conducted between ages 7 months and 2 years with 130 mother–child dyads to assess maternal attachment state of mind, sensitivity, autonomy support, and mother–child attachment security. Results showed that together, maternal sensitivity and autonomy support fully accounted for the relation between maternal and child attachment, that they each accounted for a unique portion of this relation, and that the magnitude of these mediated pathways was equivalent. These results suggest that the attachment transmission gap can be narrowed by the use of a theory-driven multidimensional approach to maternal behavior.
    Child Development 03/2014; · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examined associations among actigraphy, maternal sleep diaries, and the parent-completed child behavior checklist (CBCL) sleep items. These items are often used as a sleep measure despite their unclear validity with young children. Eighty middle class families (39 girls) drawn from a community sample participated. Children (M = 25.34 months, SD = 1.04) wore an actigraph monitor (Mini-Mitter(®) Actiwatch Actigraph, Respironics) for a 72-h period, and mothers completed a sleep diary during the same period. Eighty-nine percent of the mothers and 75% of the fathers also filled out the CBCL (1.5-5). Mother and father CBCL scores were highly correlated. Overall, good correspondence was found between the CBCL filled out by mothers and sleep efficiency and duration derived from maternal sleep diaries (r between -0.39 and -0.25, p ≤ 0.05). Good correspondence was also found between the CBCL filled out by fathers and sleep efficiency as derived from maternal sleep diaries (r between -0.39 and -0.24, p ≤ 0.05), but not with sleep duration (all results were non-significant). Very few correlations between actigraphy and the CLBL scores reached statistical significance. The Bland and Altman method revealed that sleep diaries and actigraphy showed poor agreement with one another when assessing sleep duration and sleep efficiency. However, diary- and actigraphy-derived sleep durations were significantly correlated. Consistent with findings among older groups of children, this study suggests that the CBCL sleep items, sleep diaries, and actigraphy tap into quite different aspects of sleep among toddlers. The choice of which measures to use should be based on the exact aspects of sleep that one aims to assess. Overall, despite its frequent use, the composite sleep score of the CBCL shows poor links to objective measures of sleep duration and sleep efficiency.
    Frontiers in Psychiatry 01/2014; 5:158.
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    ABSTRACT: This study is a follow-up to a previous study that examined two aspects of mother–child relationships—mothers’ mind-mindedness and infant attachment security—in relation to toddlers’ early manifestations of theory of mind understanding at 2 years of age. The current study aimed to assess the same two aspects of mother–child relationships in relation to children’s (N = 59) theory of mind performance at 4 years of age. Results of the current study confirmed and expanded on relations observed at 2 years. Mothers’ use of appropriate mind-related comments specifically during toy-based free play at 12 months of age predicted preschoolers’ understanding of false belief and Level 2 visual perspective taking over and above earlier perspective-taking abilities. Furthermore, more securely attached boys, but not girls, performed better on a task requiring Level 2 visual perspective taking. The similarity of results across the two time points suggests the reliability of associations among mothers’ use of mind-related comments during toy-based play, boys’ attachment security, and children’s subsequent social understanding. The current results also suggest that maternal mind-mindedness may be most relevant to children’s social cognition when assessed in toy-based play contexts.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 01/2014; 125:48–62. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the prospective links between sleep in infancy and preschoolers' cognitive performance. Mothers of 65 infants completed a sleep diary when infants were aged 1 year, and children completed two subscales of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence at 4 years, indexing general cognitive ability and complex executive functioning. Consistent with hypotheses, children getting higher proportions of their sleep at night as infants were found to perform better on executive functions, but did not show better general cognition. Relations held after controlling for family socioeconomic status and prior cognitive functioning. These findings suggest that the special importance of sleep for higher order cognition, documented among adults, may appear very early in life.
    Child Development 02/2013; · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To investigate relations between children's attachment and sleep, using objective and subjective sleep measures. Secondarily, to identify the most accurate actigraphy algorithm for toddlers. METHODS: 55 mother-child dyads took part in the Strange Situation Procedure (18 months) to assess attachment. At 2 years, children wore an Actiwatch for a 72-hr period, and their mothers completed a sleep diary. RESULTS: The high sensitivity (80) and smoothed actigraphy algorithms provided the most plausible sleep data. Maternal diaries yielded longer estimated sleep duration and shorter wake duration at night and showed poor agreement with actigraphy. More resistant attachment behavior was not associated with actigraphy-assessed sleep, but was associated with longer nocturnal wake duration as estimated by mothers, and with a reduced actigraphy-diary discrepancy. CONCLUSIONS: Mothers of children with resistant attachment are more aware of their child's nocturnal awakenings. Researchers and clinicians should select the best sleep measurement method for their specific needs.
    Journal of Pediatric Psychology 02/2013; · 2.91 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Applied Psychology. 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The goals of this article were to examine (1) the relative and absolute stability of maternal autonomy support between infancy and preschool age, and (2) the moderating role of child gender, maternal attachment state of mind, and stressful life events. Sixty‐nine mother–child dyads participated in five visits when the child was 8, 15, and 18 months, as well as 2 and 3 years. The results suggested that maternal autonomy support is stable in relative terms, but that its mean level decreases over time. Moreover, there was significant relative stability only for mothers of girls, mothers who showed greater coherence of mind with respect to attachment, and mothers who experienced fewer stressful life events. These results speak to the relevance of investigating parent, child, and contextual factors when examining the conditions that promote or hinder stability in parenting behaviors.
    Review of Social Development 01/2013; 22(3). · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The algorithms used to derive sleep variables from actigraphy were developed with adults. Because children change position during sleep more often than adults, algorithms may detect wakefulness when the child is actually sleeping (false negative). This study compares the validity of three algorithms for detecting sleep with actigraphy by comparing them to PSG in preschoolers. The putative influence of device location (wrist or ankle) is also examined. Twelve children aged 2 to 5 years simultaneously wore an actigraph on an ankle and a wrist (Actiwatch-L, Mini-Mitter/Respironics) during a night of PSG recording at home. Three algorithms were tested: one recommended for adults and two designed to decrease false negative detection of sleep in children. Actigraphy generally showed good sensitivity (> 95%; PSG sleep detection) but low specificity (± 50%; PSG wake detection). Intraclass correlations between PSG and actigraphy variables were strong (> 0.80) for sleep latency, sleep duration, and sleep efficiency, but weak for number of awakenings (< 0.40). The two algorithms designed for children enhanced the validity of actigraphy in preschoolers and increased the proportion of actigraphy-scored wake epochs scored that were also PSG-identified as wake. Sleep variables derived from the ankle and wrist were not statistically different. Despite the weak detection of wakefulness, Acti-watch-L appears to be a useful instrument for assessing sleep in preschoolers when used with an adapted algorithm. Bélanger M; Bernier A; Paquet J; Simard V; Julie Carrier J. Validating actigraphy as a measure of sleep for pre-school children. J Clin Sleep Med 2013;9(7):701-706.
    Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 01/2013; 9(7):701-6. · 2.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the longitudinal relations between attachment state of mind in late adolescence and romantic relationships in adulthood. Participants were drawn from two independent studies that were conducted respectively in 1992 and 1996 and that involved the administration of the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) to 167 college students. They were followed-up in 2007 (N = 99) to investigate different aspects of their romantic relationships since college. Those who had shown greater preoccupation with attachment in the AAI were more likely to be single in adulthood and to report romantic relationships of shorter length. In addition, they reported lower levels of intimacy, commitment, and passion in their current or recent romantic relationships. Dismissing tendencies were associated with higher levels of perceived passion in romantic relationships. Most of these associations remained significant after controlling for intervening life events, different dimensions of individual adjustment, socio-economic status, as well as probable life events derived from the AAI.
    Attachment & Human Development 11/2012; 14(6):621-43. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the prospective relations between parental psychosocial functioning and toddlers' sleep consolidation. Investigators met with 85 families 3 times, when children were 15 months (Time 1 [T1]), 18 months (T2), and 2 years of age (T3). Mothers and fathers completed questionnaires pertaining to their parenting stress, marital satisfaction, and perceived social support at T1 or T2, and mothers completed child sleep diaries at T2 and T3. Results indicated that fathers' parenting stress and marital satisfaction, as well as mothers' perceived social support, were related in expected directions to children's subsequent sleep consolidation (T3), with or without controlling for prior sleep consolidation (T2). In addition, all these relations were moderated by family socioeconomic status (SES), such that links were stronger in lower SES homes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Developmental Psychology 09/2012; · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite a dramatic increase of single parenthood during the past decades, parent-child transmission of attachment has almost always been examined in intact families. A first objective of the current study was to examine child attachment in the context of single parenthood, both maternal and paternal. A second objective was to investigate intergenerational transmission of attachment in single parent-child dyads, compared with that observed in two-parent families. The samples consisted of 50 married couples and 43 single parents (22 mothers and 21 fathers), along with their 3- to 6-year-old children. Parental and child attachment representations were measured, respectively, with the Adult Attachment Interview and the Attachment Story Completion Task. Findings suggested that single parenthood per se was not linked to more insecure or disorganized child attachment representations. However, when the father was the sole caregiver, children exhibited more disorganized representations. Different patterns of mother-child associations were found according to family structure: associations were significant among married families but not among single-mother families. Results also replicated those of previous studies in finding a nonsignificant father-child association in two-parent families and a significant one in single-father families, specifically with respect to hyperactivation. Further research is needed to clarify whether the differences found are attributable to different circumstances leading to single parenthood for men and women, or to parental gender itself. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of Family Psychology 08/2012; 26(5):784-92. · 1.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current study aimed to examine infant sleep duration as a moderator of the relations between maternal sensitivity and child externalizing and internalizing symptoms, in a prospective longitudinal design. Fifty-five Caucasian infants (33 girls) took part in 2 assessments, at 1 and 4 years. Maternal sensitivity was rated at 1 year, based on observations performed throughout a home visit. Infant sleep duration (i.e., nighttime sleep duration and 24-hr sleep duration) was assessed at 1 year as well, using a sleep diary completed by mothers. At 4 years, mothers completed the Child Behavior Checklist to assess children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Results indicated that maternal sensitivity interacted with infant nighttime sleep duration, such that there were negative relations between sensitivity and subsequent internalizing and externalizing symptoms only for children who slept more at night. Interactions using 24-hr sleep duration as the moderator were not significant. These findings add to an emerging literature on the importance of sleep for children's daytime functioning by suggesting that inadequate or insufficient sleep in infancy can interfere with the normal developmental process linking early maternal sensitivity to child subsequent emotional and behavioral adjustment.
    Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 05/2012; 41(4):471-81. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to examine the prospective longitudinal links between the quality of mother-child and father-child interactions and preschoolers' sleep. Three dimensions of maternal interactive behavior were considered using 70 mother-child dyads, while the quality of father-child interactions was assessed using 41 of these families. Maternal mind-mindedness was assessed at 12 months during a mother-infant free-play sequence, maternal sensitivity was rated at 12 months based on observations performed throughout a home visit, maternal autonomy support was assessed at 15 months with a 10-min problem-solving situation, and the quality of father-child interactions was scored at 18 months, during father-child free play. Children's sleep was assessed at 3 and 4 years using a sleep diary completed by mothers during 3 consecutive days. Results indicated that, after controlling for family socioeconomic status and daycare attendance, the quality of both mother-infant and father-infant interactions was positively related to children's percentage of night-time sleep at preschool age. These findings add to previous literature in suggesting that early caregiving behavior by both mothers and fathers is related to subsequent child sleep.
    Journal of Family Psychology 02/2012; 26(2):254-62. · 1.89 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

622 Citations
117.64 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2014
    • Université de Montréal
      • Department of Psychology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2012
    • Université de Vincennes - Paris 8
      Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France
  • 2010
    • Université du Québec à Montréal
      • Department of Psychology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2004–2010
    • University of Delaware
      • Department of Psychology
      Delaware, United States
  • 2001
    • Laval University
      • Département d'études sur l'enseignement et l'apprentissage
      Québec, Quebec, Canada