Psychobiological influences on maternal sensitivity in the context of adversity

The Family Life Project Key Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study evaluated prospective longitudinal relations among an index of poverty-related cumulative risk, maternal salivary cortisol, child negative affect, and maternal sensitivity across the first 2 postpartum years. Participants included 1,180 biological mothers residing in rural and predominantly lowincome communities in the United States. Multilevel growth curve analyses indicated that an index of cumulative risk was positively associated with maternal cortisol across the postpartum (study visits occurring at approximately 7, 15, and 24 months postpartum) over and above effects for African American ethnicity, time of day of saliva collection, age, parity status, having given birth to another child, contraceptive use, tobacco smoking, body mass index, and breastfeeding. Consistent with a psychobiological theory of mothering, maternal salivary cortisol was negatively associated with maternal sensitivity observed during parent- child interactions across the first 2 postpartum years over and above effects for poverty-related cumulative risk, child negative affect, as well as a large number of covariates associated with cortisol and maternal sensitivity. Child negative affect expressed during parent- child interactions was negatively associated with observed maternal sensitivity at late (24 months) but not early time points of observation (7 months) and cumulative risk was negatively associated with maternal sensitivity across the postpartum and this effect strengthened over time. Results advance our understanding of the dynamic, transactional, and psychobiological influences on parental caregiving behaviors across the first 2 postpartum years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1087
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume52
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Fingerprint

Mothers
Postpartum Period
Hydrocortisone
parents
poverty
Poverty
time of day
caregiving
interaction
contraceptive
nicotine
smoking
ethnicity
Contraceptive Agents
Parity
Breast Feeding
Saliva
African Americans
Body Mass Index
Smoking

Keywords

  • Cortisol
  • Cumulative risk
  • HPA axis
  • Parenting
  • Poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography

Cite this

Psychobiological influences on maternal sensitivity in the context of adversity. / The Family Life Project Key Investigators.

In: Developmental Psychology, Vol. 52, No. 7, 01.07.2016, p. 1073-1087.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

The Family Life Project Key Investigators. / Psychobiological influences on maternal sensitivity in the context of adversity. In: Developmental Psychology. 2016 ; Vol. 52, No. 7. pp. 1073-1087.
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