Intergenerational transmission of maternal prenatal anxiety to infant fearfulness: the mediating role of mother-infant bonding

Sofie Rousseau, Danielle Katz, Avital Schussheim, Tahl I. Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study is the first to directly investigate the mechanistic role of maternal bonding toward her infant in the early intergenerational pathway of risk from maternal anxiety to infant fearfulness. Methods: Mothers (N = 216; Mage=32.78) reported on their anxiety and bonding at four time-points between pregnancy and ten-months postpartum. At four and ten-months postpartum, infant temperamental precursors of anxiety were assessed through maternal report and observation. Results: Cross-lagged longitudinal path modeling indicated a significant link between prenatal maternal anxiety and infant temperamental fearful withdrawal at 10-months postpartum (R2 = 0.117), which was fully explained by decreased maternal bonding at one-month postpartum and increased infant temperamental negative reactivity at 4-months postpartum. Conclusion: Results support the need to foster maternal bonding in preventive perinatal care, particularly in the context of maternal anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Infant negative reactivity
  • Infant temperamental fearful withdrawal
  • Maternal anxiety
  • Maternal-infant bonding
  • Prospective

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