Maternal Responsiveness, Intrusiveness, and Negativity During Play with Infants

Contextual Associations and Infant Cognitive Status in A Low-Income Sample

Karen E. Mcfadden, Catherine Tamis-Lemonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Maternal parenting behaviors during a mother-infant play interaction were examined in a sample of 160 low-income mothers and their 15-month-old infants. Maternal responsive/didactic, intrusive, and negative behaviors were coded from videotapes and examined in relation to mothers' age, marital status, stressful life events, and depressive symptoms, and infants' cognitive scores at 15 and 25 months. Younger maternal age and increases in stressful life events were associated with increases in mothers' negative behaviors whereas being married was positively associated with mothers' responsive/didactic behaviors and inversely associated with their negative and intrusive behaviors. Mothers' depressive symptoms were inversely associated with both responsive/didactic and intrusive behaviors and predicted lower cognitive scores in infants at 15 months, but not 25 months. Maternal responsive/didactic behaviors predicted infant cognitive scores at both ages after controlling for maternal characteristics and other parenting behaviors. Intrusiveness moderated associations between both responsive/didactic and negative parenting behaviors and infant 25-month cognition. Maternal age, marital status, psychological resources, and contextual sources of stress play a central role in the quality of parenting among low-income mothers, and positive mother-infant interactions are strong predictors of infants' early cognitive status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

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Mothers
Parenting
Infant Behavior
Mother-Child Relations
Maternal Age
Marital Status
Depression
Maternal Behavior
Videotape Recording
Cognition
Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this

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title = "Maternal Responsiveness, Intrusiveness, and Negativity During Play with Infants: Contextual Associations and Infant Cognitive Status in A Low-Income Sample",
abstract = "Maternal parenting behaviors during a mother-infant play interaction were examined in a sample of 160 low-income mothers and their 15-month-old infants. Maternal responsive/didactic, intrusive, and negative behaviors were coded from videotapes and examined in relation to mothers' age, marital status, stressful life events, and depressive symptoms, and infants' cognitive scores at 15 and 25 months. Younger maternal age and increases in stressful life events were associated with increases in mothers' negative behaviors whereas being married was positively associated with mothers' responsive/didactic behaviors and inversely associated with their negative and intrusive behaviors. Mothers' depressive symptoms were inversely associated with both responsive/didactic and intrusive behaviors and predicted lower cognitive scores in infants at 15 months, but not 25 months. Maternal responsive/didactic behaviors predicted infant cognitive scores at both ages after controlling for maternal characteristics and other parenting behaviors. Intrusiveness moderated associations between both responsive/didactic and negative parenting behaviors and infant 25-month cognition. Maternal age, marital status, psychological resources, and contextual sources of stress play a central role in the quality of parenting among low-income mothers, and positive mother-infant interactions are strong predictors of infants' early cognitive status.",
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