Developmental History of Care and Control, Depression and Anger: Correlates of Maternal Sensitivity in Toddlerhood

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Esther M. Leerkes, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This study examined maternal sensitivity in response to toddler distress in relation to mothers' childhood care and control experiences with parents, maternal depression, and maternal anger. Fifty-two mothers and infants participated. Mothers reported childhood care and control experiences prenatally. At 2½ years, mothers reported depressive symptoms and anger on questionnaires, and reported maternal behavior in a daily diary for 1 week, yielding ratings of maternal sensitivity to fear and anger. Results were as follows: (a) Mothers' acceptance during childhood correlated negatively with both maternal depression and maternal anger, and positively with maternal sensitivity to fear at 2½ years; (b) maternal anger mediated the association between childhood care and maternal sensitivity to fear at 2½ years; and (c) the interaction of maternal and paternal control during childhood predicted maternal sensitivity to anger at 2½ years, controlling for maternal education. When maternal control was low, paternal control was positively associated with maternal sensitivity to anger whereas when maternal control was high, paternal control was negatively associated with maternal sensitivity to anger. Results are discussed in relation to prior studies, with particular emphasis on attachment theory. Implications for preventive intervention efforts are considered.

Additional Information

Infant Mental Health Journal, 30(2)
Language: English
Date: 2009
Child Development, Parenting, Toddlers, Parental Behavior, Maternal Sensitivity

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