We thank Patrick McC Miller for his assistance with analysis of Life Events and Difficulties Schedules, and Alan Stein for his comments on the manuscript. The research was funded by the Winniicott Trust and the Medical Research Council.
The Impact of Postnatal Depression and Associated Adversity on Early Mother-Infant Interactions and Later Infant Outcome
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
Volume 67, Issue 5, pages 2512–2526, October 1996
How to Cite
Murray, L., Fiori-Cowley, A., Hooper, R. and Cooper, P. (1996), The Impact of Postnatal Depression and Associated Adversity on Early Mother-Infant Interactions and Later Infant Outcome. Child Development, 67: 2512–2526. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1996.tb01871.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
The impact of maternal depression and adversity on mother-infant face-to-face interactions at 2 months, and on subsequent infant cognitive development and attachment, was examined in a low-risk sample of primiparous women and their infants. The severe disturbances in mother-infant engagement characteristic of depressed groups in disadvantaged populations were not evident in the context of postpartum mood disorder in the present study. However, compared to well women, depressed mothers were less sensitively attuned to their infants, and were less affirming and more negating of infant experience. Similar difficulties in maternal interactions were also evident in the context of social and personal adversity. Disturbances in early mother-infant interactions were found to be predictive of poorer infant cognitive outcome at 18 months. Infant attachment, by contrast, was not related to the quality of 2-month interactions, but was significantly associated with the occurrence of adversity, as well as postpartum depression.