• Mothers' anxiety;
  • infant attachment;
  • infant temperament;
  • intervention

Abstract Primiparous women were divided into groups according to their post-partum trait anxiety scores. Professional or non-professional support for the first 12 months was offered to two subgroups of high trait anxiety subjects. At the 5-year follow-up the high-anxiety mothers (n= 57) manifested more psychological and social pathology than moderate- and low-anxiety mothers (n= 43), and their children also showed signs of poorer adaptation. There was evidence of improved outcome for mothers in the professional intervention group, but not for their children. Child psychopathology was predicted best by maternal psychosocial variables, and to a lesser extent by child temperament variables. The relation of infant attachment and temperament measures to subsequent psychopathology is discussed.