Infant Developmental Outcomes

Infant Developmental Outcomes: A Family Systems Perspective

Ylva Parfitta,*, Alison Pikea and Susan Ayersb aSchool of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK bSchool of Health Sciences, City University London, London, UK

The aim of the current study was to examine whether parental mental health, parent–infant relationship, infant characteristics and couple’s relationship factors were associated with the infant’s development. Forty-two families took part at three time points. The first, at 3months postpartum, involved a video recorded ob- servation (CARE-index) of parent–infant interactions. At 5months postpartum, in-depth clinical interviews (the Birmingham Inter- view of Maternal Mental Health) assessed parental mental health and parental perceptions of their relationship with their infant, their partner and their infant’s characteristics. Finally, the Bayley Scales III was carried out 17months postpartum to assess the infants’ cognitive, language and motor development. A higher mother–infant relationship quality was significantly associated with more optimal language development, whilst a higher father–infant relationship quality was associated with more advanced motor development. Additionally, maternal postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder had a negative impact on the infant’s cognitive development, whilst maternal prenatal depres- sion was associated with a less optimal infant’s language develop- ment. The largest prediction was afforded by parental perceptions of their infant’s characteristics. The findings indicate that such perceptions may be crucial for the infant’s development and imply that negative internal parental perceptions should be con- sidered when assessing risk factors or designing interventions to prevent negative child outcomes. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key words: infant development; parental mental health; parent– infant relationship; couple’s relationship; infant characteristics

*Correspondence to: Ylva Parfitt, School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QH, UK. E-mail: ylva.parfitt@btopenworld.com

Infant and Child Development Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) Published online 21 November 2013 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com). DOI: 10.1002/icd.1830

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Pregnancy and the first year of an infant’s life are critical times for laying the founda- tions for the child’s future development. Research suggests that prevalence rates of developmental problems in the under threes range between 11% and 13% (e.g. Skovgaard et al., 2007; Tough et al., 2008). The identification of children at risk for developmental problems is important, as untreated developmental problems may have significant negative impact on the individuals and have economic and social impacts on society as a whole (Tough et al., 2008). Research suggests a range of interrelated risk factors for negative child developmental outcomes, such as poor mental health of the mother (e.g. Brouwers, Van Baar, & Pop, 2001; Lung, Chiang, Lin, & Shu, 2009; Murray, 2009), low levels of maternal social support (Tough, Siever, Benzies, Leew, & Johnston, 2010) and poor quality of the couple’s relationship (Hanington, Heron, Stein, & Ramchandani, 2012). Other major risk factors include an impaired parent–infant relationship and attachment problems (Murray &Cooper, 1996; Tomlinson, Cooper, & Murray, 2005; Wan & Green, 2009), and also infant factors, such as prematurity (Forcada-Guex, Pierrehumbert, Borghini, Moessinger, & Muller-Nix, 2006), male gender (Hay et al., 2001; Tough et al., 2008) and difficult infant temperament (Black et al., 2007).

The current study adds to this literature by including both mothers and fathers in the analysis of the associations between their mental health, relationships with infant and partner, infant characteristics, and their infant’s development, using Belsky’s model of determinants of parenting (1984) as a general framework. This model suggests that the parent–infant relationship (parenting) and the infant’s characteristics have a direct effect on the child’s development and that parental mental health and the couple’s relationship are related to infant outcomes by the effect they have on parenting. However, more recent evidence has also suggested direct links between parental mental health, the couple’s relationship and infant developmental outcomes.

Parental Mental Health and Infant Development

There is ample evidence of adverse effects of maternal postnatal depression on the infant’s cognitive, emotional and language development, behaviour, and mental health (Lung et al., 2009; Murray, 2009; Murray & Cooper, 1996; Quevedo et al., 2012). Links between paternal depression and less optimal language development (Paulson, Keefe, & Leiferman, 2009) and adverse emotional and behavioural out- comes in children have also been found (Ramchandani, Stein, Evans, O’Connor, & Team, 2005).

Mental health in pregnancy may be especially important for later child outcomes. Accumulating evidence suggests that exposure to maternal prenatal anxiety and stress in the womb may have long-term negative developmental consequences for the baby (e.g. Glover, 2011; Punamaki et al., 2006; Van Batenburg-Eddes et al., 2009). For example, the results of a large longitudinal study (Evans et al., 2011) suggested that prenatal exposure to depression may be more predictive of less opti- mal child cognitive development than postnatal depression. It has been suggested that this can be explained by abnormal physiological pathways within biological systems (e.g. neuroendocrine, immune and cardiovascular systems) involved in pregnancy and stress physiology, through which maternal prenatal mental health exerts a risk on child development by affecting the fetal development (Federenko & Wadhwa, 2004; Field, Diego, & Hernandez-Reif, 2006).

354 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

The majority of research regarding the association between postnatal parental mental health and the infant’s development has focused on depression. Less is known about the effect of other aspects of parental mental health, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), on the infant’s subsequent development. A systematic review of the effects of postnatal maternal anxiety on children (Glasheen, Richardson, & Fabio, 2010) found that the strongest adverse effects were on somatic, behavioural and emotional problems in the child, but with inconclusive evidence regarding the effect on children’s cognitive and general development. Also, Bosquet Enlow et al. (2011) found that maternal PTSD symptoms 6months postpar- tum were associated with measures of emotional regulation when the child was 13months old. Similarly, Pierrehumbert, Nicole, Muller-Nix, Forcada-Guex, and Ansermet (2003) found that the severity of PTSD symptoms amongst parents of premature babies was a significant predictor of their children’s subsequent regula- tory (e.g. sleeping and eating) problems. However, no known studies have assessed infant developmental outcomes in relation to postnatal PTSD.

Infant Characteristics and Infant Development

Early difficult infant temperament has been associatedwith elevated rates of parental mental health problems (e.g. Bang, 2011; Melchior et al., 2011), a less optimal parent– infant relationship (Hofacker & Papousek, 1998; Zhu et al., 2007) and child behav- ioural problems (Bosquet Enlow et al., 2011; Dale et al., 2011; Jessee, Mangelsdorf, Shigeto, & Wong, 2012), and also identified as a predictor of later difficult child temperament (Canals, Hernandez-Martinez, & Fernandez-Ballart, 2011). Parental perceptions of their infant’s characteristics have also been associated with the child’s development (Hernandez-Martinez, Canals Sans, & Fernandez-Ballart, 2011;Molfese et al., 2010). However, generally, it should be noted that the associations between different variables, such as parental mental health and the infant’s temperament, are reciprocal, not just one way. One aspect of infant characteristics is infant sleep disturbance, which has been associated with worse parental prenatal and postnatal mental health and child behavioural problems (Baird, Hill, Kendrick, & Inskip, 2009; Britton, 2011; Field et al., 2007; Lam, Hiscock, & Wake, 2003).

The Parent–Infant Relationship and Infant Development

Apart from the physiological pathways between women’s prenatal mental health and child outcomes as mentioned earlier, the parent–infant relationship itself may serve as an important behavioural pathway between parental mental health and child outcomes (e.g. Grace, Evindar, & Stewart, 2003; Westbrook & Harden, 2010). The parent–infant relationship has a central position in Belsky’s process model (1984), not only as having a direct effect on the child’s development but also as a mediator of other parental and child predictors. However, although several studies (e.g. Grace et al., 2003; Murray, FioriCowley, Hooper, & Cooper, 1996; Westbrook & Harden, 2010) have suggested the existence of mediation effects between parental mental health and child outcomes through the parent–infant relationship, these effects are not consistently found (e.g. McManus & Poehlmann, 2012).

Research shows that the quality of the mother–infant interaction may be affected by maternal depression (for a review, see Field, 2010; Leinonen, Solantaus, & Punamaki, 2003; for a meta-analysis, see Lovejoy, Graczyk, O’Hare, & Neuman, 2000), with evidence of deficiencies in themother’s responsiveness and emotional in- volvement (Black et al., 2007; Murray et al., 1996) or hostile and intrusive interactions

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 355

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

(Mantymaa, Puura, Luoma, Salmelin, & Tamminen, 2004). It has been suggested that deficient maternal interactions and caregiving consequently affect the infant’s responsivity (Field, 2010) and attention (Steadman et al., 2007), therein contributing to less optimal cognitive (Slater, 1995) and language (Stein et al., 2008) child develop- mental outcomes. Some studies have specifically linked negative parental percep- tions and representations of their infant to a less optimal parent–infant relationship and subsequent child developmental or behavioural outcome (Dollberg, Feldman, & Keren, 2010; Hernandez-Martinez et al., 2011).

Although most studies have focused on the mother–infant relationship, recent research on the influence of fathers’ parenting and child development is also emerging. For example, the extent of fathers’ positive involvement in parenting has been shown to reduce the likelihood of cognitive delays in their children, especially for boys (Bronte-Tinkew, Carrano, Horowitz, & Kinukawa, 2008). Conversely, Ramchandani et al. (2013) found that paternal disengagement and remote interaction with their babies at 3months predicted child externalizing behavioural problems at 1 year of age.

The Couple’s Relationship and Infant Development

The aforementioned research shows that the family should be viewed as a system (e.g. Bell et al., 2007; Cowan & Cowan, 2002) with an awareness of both parents’ contribu- tion to their child’s outcomes and also acknowledgement of possible spillover effects between the couple’s relationship and parent–infant relationship subsystems (Erel & Burman, 1995). For example, the couple’s relationship problemsmay negatively affect the parent–infant interactions (e.g. Mantymaa et al., 2006) and thereby indirectly con- tribute to the child’s outcomes (Carlson, Pilkauskas, McLanahan, & Brooks-Gunn, 2011; Leinonen et al., 2003; Westbrook & Harden, 2010) through parenting. Conflicts within the couple’s relationship may also negatively indirectly influence the child’s mental health, through having an effect on the child’s emotional security (e.g. Davies, Harold, Goeke-Morey, & Cummings, 2002; Koss et al., 2011; Kouros, Cummings, & Davies, 2010). Recently, the couple’s relationship has also been found to serve as a risk factor for adverse child outcomes (Hanington et al., 2012).

The Present Study

In summary, research suggests that poor parental mental health is a risk factor for negative infant developmental outcomes but has mainly focused on the effects of maternal postnatal depression on the infant’s development. Research also suggests that family relationship dynamics, primarily the parent–infant relationship itself, may be an important mechanism by which parental mental health, infant character- istics and the couple’s relationship affect the infant’s development. However, there is limited research including all of these factors and fathers. In addition, studies looking at risk factors for negative child developmental outcomes need to be extended to also include other mental health issues, such as PTSD and anxiety amongst both mothers and fathers.

The main aim of this study was to examine whether parental mental health, parent–infant relationship, infant characteristics and couple’s relationship variables were directly or indirectly associated with the infant’s cognitive, language or motor development. On the basis of previous research findings and Belsky’s model, it was predicted that a less optimal perceived and observed parent–infant relationship, poor parental mental health, low quality of the couple’s relationship and difficult

356 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

infant temperament would be associated with less optimal infant developmental scores. Whilst parental mental health, the parent–infant relationship and infant characteristics would be directly associated with the infant’s development, it was also predicted that the parent–infant relationship would act as a mediator between parental mental health, the couple’s relationship, the infant temperament and the infant’s development.

METHOD

Participants

Participants were 42 families recruited from the Sussex Journey to Parenthood Study (UK), a longitudinal study of the transition to parenthood from pregnancy to the postpartum. Inclusion criteria for the Journey to Parenthood Study were that the women were nulliparous, cohabiting with their partner, fluent in English and over 18years old. The majority of the participants of the present study were Caucasian (86%), and 85% had undergone higher education (diploma and beyond). The babies were born healthy and full term. At the time of the child development assessment, the infants (23 girls and 19 boys) were between 16 and 20months old (M=17.17 months, SD=0.73). At the time of recruitment, the length of the couple’s relationship ranged from 1 to 25years (M=6.36 years, SD=4.04) with the women aged between 26 and 46years (M=33.41 years, SD=5.08) and the men aged between 26 and 44years (M=34.20, SD=4.75).

Procedure

Ethical approval was obtained from the NHS Research Ethics Committee and the University Research Governance Committee. Participants of the Sussex Journey to Parenthood questionnaire study (N=141, 75 women and 66 men) were invited to take part in an observational study of their interactionwith their baby approximately 3months after the birth of their baby. Forty-five families agreed to take part in a short parent–infant play interaction, conducted separately with the mother and father and their baby at home and videotaped for later coding. Next, the parents who took part in the observational study were also invited for a clinical interview (Birmingham Interview for Maternal Mental Health), which took place approximately 5months after the birth of their first baby. There was no attrition between the observations of interactions and the interviews. The interviews were conducted separately with the mothers and fathers in their homes, and took between 75 and 120min to complete. Finally, 17months after birth, the same families were invited to have a develop- mental assessment of their baby. Three families had moved away and were not available, and one of the families declined to take part, resulting in the final sample of 42 families.

The infant developmental assessment was carried out in the participants’ homes by a researcher who was qualified and trained in the use of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III, following the usual procedures (Bayley, 2006). One or both parents were present throughout the assessment, which lasted between 45min and 1½h. Written informed consent was obtained before the start of each assessments, and confidentiality, anonymity and the right to withdraw at any time were assured. Participants were debriefed and were also offered a brief summary of their baby’s development after the assessment.

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 357

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

Measures

Infant development The infant’s cognitive, language and motor development was assessed using the

Bayley Scales of Infant Development III (Bayley, 2006). It is composed of rating scales and qualitative observations. It is an individually administered examination that assesses the current developmental functioning of the infant. The Bayley Scale is a widely used tool for assessing children’s development (e.g. Black et al., 2007;Huhtala et al., 2011). It has been standardized and extensively reviewed for its psychometric quality and tested for reliability (r, ranging from .86 to .93) and validity using large samples of children with and without developmental delay (Bayley, 2006). Raw scores from each scale were converted to three composite scores (M=100, SD=15), one for cognition, one for language and one for motor development.

Mental health, relationship and infant factors The Birmingham Interview of Maternal Mental Health (5th edition, Brockington,

Chandra, et al., 2006), a semi-structured clinical interview was used to assess parental mental health. This interview has previously been used in a number of international reliability studies (e.g. Brockington, Aucamp, & Fraser, 2006; Chandra, Bhargavaraman, Raghunandan, & Shaligram, 2006) and used to validate the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire (Brockington, Fraser, & Wilson, 2006). Anxiety and depression were rated on a 0–3 point scale (none, mild, moderate and severe; rated 0–3), and PTSD, on a 0–2 point scale (none, some evidence and severe). Ratings related to the other key variables under investigation were also derived from the Birmingham Interview. Principal component analysis was performed on groups of these interview items, to create summary scores for the inter-correlated items, in order to reduce the number of predictor variables and at the same time to retain as much information as possible. Items in the parent– infant relationship section of the Birmingham Interview were reduced to two factors of parental perceptions of their relationship with their infant, one for mothers (explaining 53%) and one for fathers (explaining 62%). Items included in these factors were angry response, onset of positive feelings, nature and strength of feelings, and rough treatment towards baby. The infant characteristics factor included both maternal and paternal reports of their infant’s temperament and the infant’s sleeping difficulties, explaining 62% of the variance. The couple’s relationship factor was derived from a combination of items for both parents’ post- partum support and relationship with the partner, explaining 61% of its variance. In all cases, relevant items were summed using unit weights to form scale scores.

Parent–infant interaction The CARE-index procedure (Crittenden, 2004) was utilized to analyse and code

short (3–5min) video recordings of the parent–infant interactions on different aspects of the parent and infant’s dyadic interactional behaviour. For the current study, the global dyadic synchrony score was used. This score combines the judg- ments of parental sensitivity and infant cooperation (Crittenden, 2004) and ranges from 0 to 14, with a high score, indicating a more optimal interactive relationship. Reliability was tested for 12% of the video interactions. The intraclass correlation coefficient (two-way random, absolute agreement, single measure) for this score was .86, which indicates an excellent agreement between the main rater and first author (YP).

358 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

Statistical Analysis

Correlational analyses and multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations between variables and impact of the predictor variables on the children’s development. Thereafter, mediation effects were examined in accordance with Baron and Kenny’s criteria (1986), to explore whether the associations between the infant’s characteristics, parental mental health and the couple’s relationship with cognitive, language and motor development were mediated by the quality of mother–infant and father–infant perceptions of their relationship or observed mother–infant and father–infant dyadic interaction. For each developmental out- come, mediation was tested through three regression models, separately for each pre- dictor, mediator and outcome. The assumptions of multiple regression were met regarding multicollinearity, homoscedasticity, and independent and normally distrib- uted errors. Additionally, the developmental outcomes were normally distributed.

RESULTS

Preliminary Analysis and Descriptives

Missing data analysis revealed that 84% of parents had completed all of themeasures included in the present study. Parents with missing data (n=14, 4 women and 10 men) did not differ from parents with complete data on ethnicity (χ2(1) = 0.86, p= .35), marital status (χ2(1) = 0.70, p= .40), gender (χ2(1) = 3.08, p= .08) or education (χ2(1) = 0.10, p= .75). The little missing completely at random test was not significant (χ2 = 18.90, p=ns). This indicates that the data were missing completely at random, which suggests that the EM method for imputation of data is suitable (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007).Missing data for the predictor variableswere therefore replaced using the EMmethod, which concurs with the way similar studies have dealt with missing data (e.g. Flykt, Kanninen, Sinkkonen, & Punamaki, 2010).

Mean scores for infant’s developmental ages are reported in Table 1. It shows that on average the infants’ developmental age is within normal age limits with slightly higher means than their actual age on most of the scales and just below their actual age on the gross motor scale. However, when looking at the range of developmental outcomes, it should be noted that there was variability amongst the children, with some being considerably less developed than others, at the time of the assessment. Similarly, Table 1 also indicates that all the composite scores of the infants’ perfor- mance on the Bayley Scales III are within normal limits. Descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) for parental mental health and parent–infant interaction variables are also given in Table 1.

Univariate Predictors of Infant Development

To examine the prediction that a less optimal parent–infant relationship, parental mental health problems, a low quality of the couple’s relationship and negative in- fant characteristics were associated with less optimal infant developmental scores; correlation analyses were conducted on the main variables of interest. Correlations between these are presented in Table 2. As shown, the infant’s negative characteris- tics were substantially associated with less optimal cognitive, language and motor developmental outcomes. Also, maternal perceptions of a less optimalmother–infant relationshipweremoderately associatedwith a poorer language development for the infant, and paternal perceptions of a less optimal father–infant relationship were moderately associated with a poorer motor development. For mental health issues,

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 359

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

maternal postnatal PTSD was moderately associated with poorer cognitive out- comes, whilst there was a moderate correlation between maternal prenatal depres- sion and less optimal language development. All of these significant correlations were in the predicted direction, with the higher developmental scores, the less difficult infant characteristics, a more optimal parent–infant relationship and better parental mental health.

Multivariate Predictors of Infant Development

To further examine the impact of the aforementioned predictor variables on the infant’s development, three multiple regression analyses were conducted. A data- driven approach was used, where predictors that yieldedmedium-sized correlations ≥.2 (Cohen, 1992) with the infant developmental outcomes were entered into the regressions in one step to test the independent contribution by each of these on the infant’s cognitive, language and motor developmental outcomes.

The results of the first regression analysis regarding the infant’s cognitive devel- opment are shown in Table 3. This model included maternal prenatal depression, maternal postnatal PTSD, maternal perceptions of the mother–infant relationship and the infant’s characteristics factors. Overall, the predictors explained 27.5% of the variance of the cognitive composite score, F(4, 37) = 3.50, p= .016, with a unique significant contribution of maternal postnatal PTSD (β=�.34, t=�2.20, p= .03).

Table 1. Means and standard deviations for Bayley Scales developmental ages and composite scores, parental mental health and parent–infant interaction variables

Scores Range Mean (SD)

Cognitive development (months)a 12–21 18. 00 (2.06) Receptive development (months)a 10–26 19.70 (3.40) Expressive development (months)a 8–22 17.95 (3.17) Fine motor development (months)a 11–23 19.51 (2.44) Gross motor development ( months)a 7–20 16.40 (3.19) Cognitive composite b 75–125 101.90 (10.99) Language composite b 68–129 106.98 (14.58) Motor composite b 64–121 100.83 (12.07) Maternal prenatal depression 0–3 0.48 (0.77) Maternal postnatal depression 0–2 0.52 (0.70) Maternal prenatal anxiety 0–3 0.91 (1.00) Maternal postnatal anxiety 0–3 0.86 (0.98) Maternal post-traumatic stress disorder 0–2 0.21 (0.51) Paternal prenatal depression 0–3 0.32 (0.67) Paternal postnatal depression 0–2 0.24 (0.60) Paternal prenatal anxiety 0–3 0.98 (0.88) Paternal postnatal anxiety 0–2 0.46 (0.64) Mother–infant global synchrony c 2–13 7.83 (2.64) Father–infant global synchrony c 2–12 7.69 (2.42)

Note. N= 42. aThe mean age of the infants at the time of the developmental assessment was 17.2months. bA score of 100 on any of the composites defines the average performance of a given age group. Scores of 85 and 115 are 1 SD below and above the mean. About 68% of all infants obtain composite scores between 85 and 115, about 98% score in the 70–130 range. Nearly all infants obtain scores between 55 and 145. cThese scores are derived from observations of the parent–infant relationship.

360 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

Ta bl e 2.

C or re la ti on

s be

tw ee n in fa nt

d ev

el op

m en

ta ls co re s an

d pr ed

ic to r va

ri ab

le s

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 361

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

Regression results for the infant’s language development are detailed in Table 4. The model included maternal and paternal prenatal depression, parental perceptions of the mother–infant, the father–infant relationship and the infant’s characteristics factors as well as the mother–infant and father–infant dyadic interaction synchrony scores. The overall regression model for language development was significant, F(7, 34) = 3.15, p= .01, with 39% of the variance accounted for by the predictors. The only predictor adding a unique significant contribution to infant language development, and thus in line with the predictions, was the infant’s characteristics (β=�.35, t=�2.13, p= .04). The total regression model for motor development included the infant’s characteristics, the perceived father–infant relationship factor, and the mother–infant and father–infant dyadic interaction synchrony scores derived from observations (Table 5). However, the total model failed to reach significance with only 18% of the variance being accounted for by the predictors, F(4, 36) = 1.91, p= .13, and contrary to predictions, none of the individual predictors contributed significantly to motor development.

Mediation Analysis

Finally, to test the hypothesis that the parent–infant relationship would act as a mediator between parental mental health, the couple’s relationship, the infant tem- perament and the infant’s development, mediation was tested through three regres- sion models, separately for each predictor, mediator and developmental outcome.

For the cognitive developmental outcome, the first regression models showed that both maternal PTSD, F(1, 40) = 5.62, p= .02, and the infant’s characteristics, F(1, 40) = 7.56, p= .01, each significantly predicted the cognitive outcome. In the second regression models, only the infant’s characteristics were significantly associated with one of the mediators, the perceived father–infant relationship, F(1, 40) = 5.55, p= .02. However, in the third regression model, the mediator (the father’s perception of the father–infant relationship) failed to significantly predict the outcome (cognitive development), whilst the infant’s characteristics remained significantly associated with the outcome (β=�.42, t=�2.71, p= .01). For the language developmental outcome, a similar pattern of associations was found, where maternal prenatal depression, F(1, 40) = 6.84, p= .01, and the infant’s characteristics, F(1, 40) = 17.21, p= .001, fulfilled the first criteria of significantly

Table 3. Multiple regression analyses regarding the parental mental health status, the couple’s relationship, infant’s characteristics and parent–infant relationship in predicting the infant’s cognitive development

Predictor

Cognitive development

B SE B β

Prenatal depression (women) �1.98 2.23 �.14 Postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder (women) �7.08 3.21 �.34* Mother–infant relationshipa �0.71 0.57 �.19 Infant’s characteristics �0.74 0.59 �.21 Total R2 .28* F 3.50

Note. *p< .05. **p< .01. ***p< .001. aPerceived parent–infant relationship, derived from interviews.

362 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

predicting the language developmental outcome, with only the infant’s character- istics factor being significantly associated with one of the mediators, the father– infant relationship factor, F(1, 40) = 5.55, p= .02. As indicated earlier, the perceived father–infant relationship was not a significant predictor of the language outcome in the third regression analysis, whilst the infant’s characteristics factor remained significant (β=�.53, t=�3.69, p= .001).

For the motor developmental outcome, the infant’s characteristics factor was the sole predictor that reached significance in the first regression analysis, F(1, 39)= 4.50, p= .04. Also, as indicated earlier, the infant’s characteristics were only significantly associated with one of the mediators, the perceived father–infant relationship factor. However, in the third regression analysis, neither the infant’s characteristics nor the father–infant relationship factor reached significance in predicting the motor developmental outcome. These results, contrary to the hypothesis, indicate that none of the parent–infant relationship variables mediated the relationship between parental mental health, the infant’s characteristics or the couple’s relationship, and the developmental outcomes.

Table 4. Multiple regression analyses regarding the parents’ mental health status, infant’s characteristics and parent–infant relationship in predicting the infant’s language development

Predictor

Language Development

B SE B β

Prenatal depression (women) �4.14 3.01 �.22 Prenatal depression (men) �0.82 3.45 �.04 Mother–infant relationshipa �0.70 0.84 �.14 Father–infant relationshipa �0.43 0.71 �.09 Dyadic synchrony: mother–infantb 0.18 0.86 .03 Dyadic synchrony: father–infantb 1.05 0.93 .17 Infant’s characteristics �1.66 0.78 �.35* Total R2 .39** F 3.15

Note. *p< .05. **p< .01. ***p< .001. aPerceived parent–infant relationship, derived from interviews. bObserved parent–infant relationship, derived from observations.

Table 5. Multiple regression analyses regarding the infant’s characteristics and parent– infant relationship in predicting the infant’s motor development

Predictor

Motor development

B SE B β

Father–baby relationshipa �0.73 0.61 �.20 Dyadic synchrony: mother–infantb 0.76 0.77 .17 Dyadic synchrony: father–infantb 0.45 0.83 .09 Infant’s characteristics �0.80 0.65 �.21 Total R2 .18 F 1.91

Note. *p< .05. **p< .01. ***p< .001. aPerceived parent–infant relationship, derived from interviews. bObserved parent–infant relationship, derived from observations.

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 363

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

DISCUSSION

This study examined the association between parental mental health, the infant’s characteristics, the couple’s relationship, parental perceptions of the parent–infant relationship, parent–infant interaction, and infant’s cognitive, language and motor development, using interviews and observations. The results showed that parent’s perceptions of their infant’s characteristics were an important predictor of children’s cognitive, language and motor development, whilst the mother’s perceptions of the mother–infant relationship were mainly associated with the child’s language devel- opment and the father’s perception of the father–infant relationship with the child’s motor development. However, no associations were found between observed parent–infant interactions and the infant’s development. Amongst the parental mental health variables, maternal postnatal PTSD was predictive of less optimal infant cognitive development, and maternal prenatal depression was significantly associated with less optimal infant language development. The hypotheses were thus partially supported. Contrary to predictions, none of the parent–infant relation- ship variables acted as mediators between the other predictors and infant’s develop- mental outcomes. The following discussion further explores these findings in relation to previous research, Belsky’s model of parenting (1984), and methodological issues and implications.

Parental Mental Health and Infant Development

It was hypothesized that prenatal and postnatal mental health (depression, anxiety and PTSD) would be associated with children’s development. Contrary to evidence from several previous studies (e.g. Murray, 2009; Paulson et al., 2009; Quevedo et al., 2012; Ramchandani et al., 2005), no significant associations between maternal or pa- ternal postnatal depression and child developmental outcomeswere found. These in- consistent results may be partly due tomeasurement issues, as previous research has predominantly used self-report questionnaires to measure mental health. A recent study (Keim et al., 2011) that used interviews to measure maternal psychological health (anxiety, depression and stress) and infant cognitive development also found no evidence of negative effects on the child’s development from poor psychological health but, on the contrary, found that moderate psychosocial stress was associated with accelerated motor and language development.

Another explanation for the lack of association between parental depression and infant development at 17months postpartum in the present study could be that such effects are not apparent until later on in the child’s development. For example, a large Taiwanese birth cohort study (Lung et al., 2009) did not find any significant effects of parental mental health on the infant’s language and social development at 18months postpartum, but at 36months, this effect became significant. Fletcher, Feeman, Garfield, and Vimpani (2011) similarly found that early paternal depression predicted child outcomes 4 years later. This highlights the importance of long-term follow-ups of children’s developmental outcomes in relation to parental mental health. Also, parental mental health symptoms should be followed up over time to enable analyses of any differential effects of early, concurrent and chronic mental health problems on child developmental outcomes.

In contrast, significant associations were uncovered between maternal prenatal depression and language development. This finding corresponds to previous research suggesting that prenatal exposure to depression may be even more detri- mental and predictive of child developmental outcomes than parental postnatal

364 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

mental health (e.g. Evans et al., 2011; Talge, Neal, & Glover, 2007). Importantly, the current study also found that maternal postnatal PTSD was a significant predictor of a less optimal cognitive development for the infant. As a novel finding, this requires replication and further examination of the underlying mechanisms. Although no previous studies have examined this, Bosquet Enlow et al. (2011) found that maternal postpartum PTSD symptoms were associated with difficulties for the infant to regulate emotions at 13months postpartum. It could be speculated that this may reduce the infant’s capacity to attend to cognitive learning activities and result in a less optimal cognitive development. Another speculative mechanism could be the mother’s insecure attachment style, which may have increased her vulnerability to develop PTSD (e.g. Iles, Slade, & Spiby, 2011) and resulted in harmful effects on the infant’s cognitive development. Other possible reasons may be that mothers with PTSD may avoid contact and play with the baby (Nicholls & Ayers, 2007) or, similarly tomotherswith postnatal depression, lack contingent responses that in turn limit their baby’s exposure to inferential learning (e.g. Hay et al., 2001).

The Couple’s Relationship and Infant Development

Contrary to predictions and recent research (e.g. Hanington et al., 2012), the couple’s relationshipwas not associatedwith any of the infant developmental outcomes in the present study. However, the results of the present study demonstrated a significant association between the father’s perception of the couple’s relationship and the father–infant relationship. This is in line with Erel and Burman’s ‘spill over hypoth- esis’ (1995) and other evidence of the couple’s relationship being predictive of a better parent–infant relationship (Carlson et al., 2011), especially for the paternal parenting behaviour (Florsheim & Smith, 2005). Contrary to Belsky’s model and previous research (e.g. Leinonen et al., 2003; Westbrook & Harden, 2010) and as discussed later, no mediation effects occurred through the perceived parent–infant relation- ship or observed parent–infant interaction between the couple’s relationship and infant development.

Infant Characteristics and Infant Development

Akey finding of this studywas that the infant’s characteristics factor, which included both parents’ perceptions of their infant’s temperament and sleep disturbances, was an important predictor of all three infant developmental outcomes. This finding supported the hypothesis and Belsky’s model (1984), which suggests a direct effect of infant characteristics on the infant’s development. Empirical evidence also agrees that early infant characteristics are an important factor to consider when predicting the child’s developmental (Hernandez-Martinez et al., 2011; Molfese et al., 2010) and behavioural outcomes, especially when combined with parental mental health problems (e.g. Black et al., 2007; Jessee et al., 2012).

Apart from these authors, there is limited research regarding parental perceptions of their infant’s characteristics in relation to their mental health, their relationship with their infant and infant developmental outcomes. It would also be necessary to follow the trajectories of the child’s development across the first years of develop- ment in order to analyse whether different factors play a role over time. For example, Feldman and Eidelman (2009) suggested that although biological infant characteris- tics, such as the infant’s neonatal vagal tone at birth, were initially linked to the baby’s cognitive and social emotional development across the first year, environmen- tal factors such as parental mental health interferedwith the child’s development at a

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 365

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

later stage. In the current study, the infant’s development was assessed at one time point only. This meant that the infant’s earlier development could not be controlled for. However, it may be possible that the parental perceptions of their infant’s charac- teristics included aspects of the infant’s development. For example, a parent with a developmentally more able child may also perceive their child as more temper- amentally ‘easy’. One other aspect of the baby’s characteristics that has been linked to less optimal child developmental outcomes is male gender (e.g. Tough et al., 2008). Infant gender was therefore initially included in the analysis, but no significant associations were found with the infant’s gender and any of the other variables, so was therefore excluded.

The Parent–Infant Relationship and Infant Development

The role of the parental perceptions of the parent–infant relationship and parent– infant interactions for the infant’s developmental outcomewas of central importance to this study. The results are partly in line with the prediction of a significant associ- ation between these and child development. It was found that the perceivedmother– infant relationship was significantly associated with the language development and also that the perceived father–infant relationship was significantly correlated with themotor development. However, neither themother–infant nor father–infant global dyadic interaction scores reached significance in their association with developmen- tal outcomes, although the correlations were in the predicted direction. Furthermore, none of the relationship variables made a unique contribution to the variance of any of the developmental outcomes. The link between the mother–infant relationship and language development concurs with other studies. For example, Leigh, Angela Nievar, and Nathans (2011) found that sensitive mother–infant interactions posi- tively influenced the child’s later expressive language, and Stein et al. (2008) found that a poorer quality ofmaternal caregiving at 10months predicted a lower language outcome at 36months.

There is sparse research with which to compare the finding of a link between the father–infant relationship and children’s motor development. However, one specula- tive explanation for this comes from a study (Liu, Liu, & Lin, 2001) that concluded that physical touch was beneficial to the baby’s psychomotor development. As the father’s play with their baby is characterized by being more physically stimulating than the mother’s play (e.g. Kobayashi, 2008; Lewis & Lamb, 2003), the baby who has a more optimal relationship with their father may get extra stimulation through touch and affection from the father (Combs-Orme & Renkert, 2009), which conse- quently aids their motor development. These results indicate that mothers’ and fathers’ relationships with their infant may influence different areas of their develop- ment. Further studies of child developmental outcomes may therefore benefit from comparing the types of play and care activities that mothers and fathers engage in with their infant and later child developmental outcomes.

Finally, it was predicted that the parent–infant relationship would have a mediat- ing role between the other variables and the infant’s developmental outcomes, but no such mediation effect was found. The lack of significant mediation effects of the parent–baby relationship may be due to methodological issues, such as the small sample size. Another methodological limitation and potential explanation for the lack ofmediation effects could be that the observationalmeasure of the parent–infant interaction was collected a few weeks before the parental mental health interview measure. However, similarly to the current study, McManus and Poehlmann (2012) found nomediation effects of the quality of parent–infant interaction betweenmater- nal depression and children’s cognitive development.

366 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

Methodological Issues and Future Directions

This study benefitted from ‘gold standard’ methods with direct observations, in- depth interviews and assessments of the infant’s development. The benefit of using face-to-face interview measures rather than self-report measures for predicting children’s outcomes has previously been acknowledged by Pawlby, Sharp, Hay, and O’Keane (2008). As previously discussed, different measurement approaches are likely to influence results of studies. In the current study, the interview measure and observational measure for the parent–infant relationship differed in their links with child development and were not significantly correlated with each other. These measures thus reflect different aspects of the parent–infant relationship. Interestingly, the interview measure appeared to be a better predictor of the infant’s development than the observa- tional measure of the parent–infant interaction. One reason for this could be that the observational measure was collected at a slightly earlier time point than the interview measure. However, the predictive power of self-reported parental mental representations and parental beliefs about their relationship with their baby has been found in other studies of child behaviour outcomes (e.g. Barnett, Shanahan, Deng, Haskett, & Cox, 2010). Flykt et al. (2010) suggested that interview measures of the parent–infant relationship reflect parents’ attach- ment-related internal working models (e.g. Fonagy & Target, 2002) to a greater extent than direct parent–infant interactions, which are only snap-shots of the relationship, whereas parents’ reflections represent many hundreds of hours of experience.

Similarly, research suggests that specific facets of parenting, such as the capacity for a parent to mentalize (Slade, Grienenberger, Bernbach, Levy, & Locker, 2005) and to be mind-minded (Meins et al., 2003) in their relationship with their infant, may be especially important for positive child outcomes, such as the child’s eventual attachment security (Slade et al., 2005), language acquisition, and ultimately more optimal scholastic, emotional, social and behavioural adjustments (Berlin, Cassidy, & Appleyard, 2008). Mind- mindedness has also been linked to parental prenatal predictions of their infants’ characteristics (e.g. Arnott & Meins, 2008) and may thus help to explain the mechanisms by which parental perceptions of their infant’s characteristics were significantly linked to the infant’s later developmental outcome in the present study. These findings highlight the need to consider parent’s verbal reports of their internal perceptions of their baby and their relationship when designing interventions to prevent poor child outcomes and to include measures accounting for parental internal representations of their baby in future research of risk factors for negative child outcomes. Prenatal interventions may be especially useful in helping both parents to form a positive representation and interpretation of their unborn baby from the very outset. Future studies would also benefit from including measures of parental mind-mindedness and reflective functioning, as another parental mediator between mental health and child outcomes.

This study’s inclusion of both mothers and fathers enabled comparisons within couples of each parent’s relative contribution to their infant’s developmental outcome. However, a major limitation of the study was the small sample size, which limited the statistical power and increased the risk for Type II errors. Also, the small sample size restricted the types of analysis possible. Structural equation modelling would have allowed for the analysis of more complex interactional effects. The socially low risk sample of well-educated and cohabiting parents in

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 367

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

the current sample may have protected the children from negative outcomes and may therefore have restricted the differences in developmental outcomes to be detected (e.g. Bronte-Tinkew et al., 2008). However, it could be argued that the homogenous sample controlled for socio-economical risk factors (e.g. Mensah & Kiernan, 2009) and therefore allowed for these factors to be excluded in the analy- ses, allowing the focus to be on the predictor variables of interest.

The small sample size also limited the number of predictor variables that could be included in the regressions. Tominimize the number of predictors in the models whilst retaining maximal information, principal component analysis was used to provide a summary of groups of inter-correlated variables using unit weights. To reduce the predictor variables further, the current study also used a combined dyadic synchrony measure for the mother–infant interaction and one for the father–infant interaction, de- spite rating these interactions on seven separate dimensions. It would have been bene- ficial to have examined whether these would have differential effects on the child developmental outcomes. This would be recommended in future larger scale studies.

Other methodological limitations include the retrospective measures of mental health variables in pregnancy, which could be subjected to recall biases. The study would also benefit from a long-term follow-up of child developmental outcome, as earlier studies (Lung et al., 2009) have suggested that the impact of factors such as parental mental health may take time to emerge fully. Moderating effects of combinations of predictor variables on infant developmental outcomes may also benefit further investigations.

Conclusions and Implications

In conclusion, the results of this study showed that parental perceptions of early char- acteristics of their infantsmay have an important role in predicting infant’s cognitive, language and motor development. The negative impact of maternal postnatal PTSD on the infant’s cognitive development is a new and important finding, which should be addressed in future research. Maternal prenatal depression was also significantly related to the infant’s language development, whilst paternal mental health was mainly linked to the couple’s relationship and father–baby relationship. Despite the parent–infant relationship being widely viewed as providing a mechanism by which poor parental mental health, child characteristics and the couple’s relationship affect child development, no such mediation effect was found. However, the mater- nal perceptions of the mother–infant relationship showed a significant association with the infant’s language development and paternal perceptions of the father–infant relationship with the infant’s cognitive development. Importantly, it needs to be emphasized that the results of the current study should be considered as preliminary due to the small sample size. It would therefore be valuable for future research, with larger sample sizes, to use more sophisticated modelling techniques to more fully examine the complex interplay among these variables within family systems, over longer periods and in different sociodemographic groups.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This research was partly supported by the British Academy research grant LRG- 45508. We are very grateful to all of the parents who took part in this research. We are also grateful to Angela de Mille for her assistance with the CARE-index coding of mother–infant and father–infant interactions.

368 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

REFERENCES

Arnott, B., & Meins, E. (2008). Continuity in mind-mindedness from pregnancy to the first year of life. Infant Behavior and Development, 31(4), 647–654.

Baird, J., Hill, C. M., Kendrick, T., & Inskip, H. M. (2009). Infant sleep disturbance is associated with preconceptional psychological distress: Findings from the Southampton Women’s Survey. Sleep, 32(4), 566–568.

Bang, K. S. (2011). Infants’ temperament and health problems according to maternal post- partum depression. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, 41(4), 444–450.

Barnett, M. A., Shanahan, L., Deng, M., Haskett, M. E., & Cox, M. J. (2010). Independent and interactive contributions of parenting behaviors and beliefs in the prediction of early childhood behavior problems. Parenting, 10(1), 43–59.

Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research. Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182.

Bayley, N. (2006). Bayley Scales of Infant Development III (3rd ed.). San Antonio, TX, USA: Psych Corp, Harcour Assessment, Inc.

Bell, L., Goulet, C., St-Cyr Tribble, D., Paul, D., Boisclair, A., & Tronick, E. Z. (2007). Mothers’ and fathers’ views of the interdependence of their relationships with their infant: A systems perspective on early family relationships. Journal of Family Nursing, 13(2), 179–200.

Belsky, J. (1984). The determinants of parenting: A process model. Child Development, 55(1), 83–96.

Berlin, L. J., Cassidy, J., & Appleyard, K. (2008). The influence of early attachments on other relationships. In J. Cassidy, & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Publications.

Black, M. M., Baqui, A. H., Zaman, K., McNary, S. W., Le, K., El Arifeen, S., … Black, R. E. (2007). Depressive symptoms among rural Bangladeshi mothers: Implications for infant development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 48(8), 764–772.

Bosquet Enlow, M., Kitts, R. L., Blood, E., Bizarro, A., Hofmeister, M., & Wright, R. J. (2011). Maternal posttraumatic stress symptoms and infant emotional reactivity and emotion regulation. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(4), 487–503.

Britton, J. R. (2011). Infant temperament and maternal anxiety and depressed mood in the early postpartum period. Women and Health, 51(1), 55–71.

Brockington, I. F., Chandra, P., George, S., Hofberg, K., Lanczik, M.H., Loh, C.C, … Wainscott, G. (2006). The Birmingham Interview for Maternal Mental Health (5th ed.). Birmingham: Eyre Press.

Brockington, I. F., Aucamp, H. M., & Fraser, C. (2006). Severe disorders of the mother–infant relationship: Definitions and frequency. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 9(5), 243–251.

Brockington, I. F., Fraser, C., & Wilson, D. (2006). The Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire: A validation. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 9(5), 233–242.

Bronte-Tinkew, J., Carrano, J., Horowitz, A., & Kinukawa, A. (2008). Involvement among resident fathers and links to infant cognitive outcomes. Journal of Family Issues, 29(9), 1211–1244.

Brouwers, E. P. M., van Baar, A. L., & Pop, V. J. M. (2001). Maternal anxiety during pregnancy and subsequent infant development. Infant Behavior and Development, 24(1), 95–106.

Canals, J., Hernandez-Martinez, C., & Fernandez-Ballart, J. D. (2011). Relationships between early behavioural characteristics and temperament at 6 years. Infant Behavior and Develop- ment, 34(1), 152–160.

Carlson, M. J., Pilkauskas, N. V., McLanahan, S. S., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2011). Couples as part- ners and parents over children’s early years. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73(2), 317–334.

Chandra, P. S., Bhargavaraman, R. P., Raghunandan, V. N. G. P., & Shaligram, D. (2006). Delusions related to infant and their association with mother–infant interactions in post- partum psychotic disorders. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 9(5), 285–288.

Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 155–159.

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 369

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

Combs-Orme, T., & Renkert, L. E. (2009). Fathers and their infants: Caregiving and affection in the modern family. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 19(4), 394–418.

Cowan, P. A., & Cowan, C. P. (2002). Interventions as tests of family systems theories: Marital and family relationships in children’s development and psychopathology. Develop- ment and Psychopathology, 14(4), 731–759.

Crittenden, P. M. (2004). CARE-index infants (birth–15months): Coding manual. Miami, FL: Family Relations Institute.

Dale, L. P., O’Hara, E. A., Schein, R., Inserra, L., Keen, J., Flores, M., et al. (2011). Measures of infant behavioral and physiological state regulation predict 54-month behavior problems. Infant Mental Health Journal, 32(4), 473–486.

Davies, P. T., Harold, G. T., Goeke-Morey, M. C., & Cummings, E. M. (2002). Child emotional security and interparental conflict.Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 67(3), X–113.

Dollberg, D., Feldman, R., & Keren, M. (2010). Maternal representations, infant psychiatric status, and mother–child relationship in clinic-referred and non-referred infants. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 19(1), 25–36.

Erel, O., & Burman, B. (1995). Interrelatedness of marital relations and parent–child relations: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 118(1), 108–132.

Evans, J., Melotti, R., Heron, J., Ramchandani, P., Wiles, N., Murray, L., et al. (2011). The timing of maternal depressive symptoms and child cognitive development: A longitudinal study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 53(6), 632–640.

Federenko, I. S., & Wadhwa, P. D. (2004). Women’s mental health during pregnancy influences fetal and infant developmental and health outcomes. CNS Spectrums, 9(3), 198–206.

Feldman, R., & Eidelman, A. I. (2009). Biological and environmental initial conditions shape the trajectories of cognitive and social–emotional development across the first years of life. Developmental Science, 12(1), 194–200.

Field, T. (2010). Postpartum depression effects on early interactions, parenting, and safety practices: A review. Infant Behavior and Development, 33(1), 1–6.

Field, T., Diego, M., & Hernandez-Reif, M. (2006). Prenatal depression effects on the fetus and newborn: A review. Infant Behavior and Development, 29(3), 445–455.

Field, T., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Figueiredo, B., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (2007). Sleep disturbances in depressed pregnant women and their newborns. Infant Behavior and Development, 30(1), 127–133.

Fletcher, R. J., Feeman, E., Garfield, C., & Vimpani, G. (2011). The effects of early paternal depression on children’s development. Medical Journal of Australia, 195(11), 685–689.

Florsheim, P., & Smith, A. (2005). Expectant adolescent couples’ relations and subsequent parenting behavior. Infant Mental Health Journal, 26(6), 533–548.

Flykt, M., Kanninen, K., Sinkkonen, J., & Punamaki, R. (2010). Maternal depression and dyadic interaction: The role of maternal attachment style. Infant and Child Development, 19(5), 530–550.

Fonagy, P., & Target, M. (2002). Early intervention and the development of self-regulation. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(3), 307–335.

Forcada-Guex, M., Pierrehumbert, B., Borghini, A., Moessinger, A., & Muller-Nix, C. (2006). Early dyadic patterns of mother–infant interactions and outcomes of prematurity at 18months. Pediatrics, 118(1), 107–114.

Glasheen, C., Richardson, G. A., & Fabio, A. (2010). A systematic review of the effects of postnatal maternal anxiety on children. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 13(1), 61–74.

Glover, V. (2011). Annual research review: Prenatal stress and the origins of psychopathology: An evolutionary perspective. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 52(4), 356–367.

Grace, S. L., Evindar, A., & Stewart, D. E. (2003). The effect of postpartum depression on child cognitive development and behaviour. A review and critical analysis of the literature. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 6(4), 263–274.

370 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

Hanington, L., Heron, J., Stein, A., & Ramchandani, P. (2012). Parental depression and child outcomes—Is marital conflict the missing link? Child: Care, Health and Development, 38(4), 520–529.

Hay, D. F., Pawlby, S., Sharp, D., Asten, P., Mills, A., & Kumar, R. (2001). Intellectual problems shown by 1-year-old children whose mothers had postnatal depression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 42(7), 871–889.

Hernandez-Martinez, C., Canals Sans, J., & Fernandez-Ballart, J. (2011). Parents’ perceptions of their neonates and their relation to infant development. Child: Care, Health and Develop- ment, 37(4), 484–492.

Hofacker, N. V., & Papousek, M. (1998). Disorders of excessive crying, feeding, and sleeping: The Munich interdisciplinary research and intervention program. Infant Mental Health Journal, 19(2), 180–201.

Huhtala, M., Korja, R., Lehtonen, L., Haataja, L., Lapinleimu, H., Munck, P., et al. (2011). Parental psychological well-being and cognitive development of very low birth weight infants at 2 years. Acta Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics, 100(12), 1555–1560.

Iles, J., Slade, P., & Spiby, H. (2011). Posttraumatic stress symptoms and postpartum depres- sion in couples after childbirth: The role of partner support and attachment. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25(4), 520–530.

Jessee, A., Mangelsdorf, S. C., Shigeto, A., & Wong, M. S. (2012). Temperament as a moder- ator of the effects of parental depressive symptoms on child behavior problems. Social Development, 21(3), 610–627.

Keim, S. A., Daniels, J. L., Dole, N., Herring, A. H., Siega-Riz, A. M., & Scheidt, P. C. (2011). A prospective study of maternal anxiety, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms in relation to infant cognitive development. Early Human Development, 87(5), 373–380.

Kobayashi, T. (2008). Why do boys prefer to play with their fathers rather than with their mothers? Journal of Human Ergology, 37(1), 49–55.

Koss, K. J., George, M. R. W., Bergman, K. N., Cummings, E. M., Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (2011). Understanding children’s emotional processes and behavioural strategies in the context of marital conflict. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109(3), 336–352.

Kouros, C. D., Cummings, E. M., & Davies, P. T. (2010). Early trajectories of interparental conflict and externalizing problems as predictors of social competence in preadolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 22(3), 527–537.

Lam, P., Hiscock, H., & Wake, M. (2003). Outcomes of infant sleep problems: A longitudinal study of sleep, behavior, and maternal well-being. Pediatrics, 111(3), 203–207.

Leigh, P., Angela Nievar, M., & Nathans, L. (2011). Maternal sensitivity and language in early childhood: A test of the transactional model. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 113(1), 281–299.

Leinonen, J. A., Solantaus, T. S., & Punamaki, R. L. (2003). Parental mental health and chil- dren’s adjustment: The quality of marital interaction and parenting as mediating factors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 44(2), 227–241.

Lewis, C., & Lamb, M. E. (2003). Fathers’ influences on children’s development: The evi- dence from two-parent families. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 18(2), 211–228.

Liu, C., Liu, J., & Lin, X. (2001). Effects of touch on growth and mentality development in normal infants. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi, 81(23), 1420–1423.

Lovejoy, M. C., Graczyk, P. A., O’Hare, E., & Neuman, G. (2000). Maternal depression and parenting behavior: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 20(5), 561–592.

Lung, F. W., Chiang, T. L., Lin, S. J., & Shu, B. C. (2009). Parental mental health and child development from six to thirty-six months in a birth cohort study in Taiwan. Journal of Perinatal Medicine, 37(4), 397–402.

Mantymaa, M., Puura, K., Luoma, I., Salmelin, R. K., & Tamminen, T. (2004). Early mother– infant interaction, parental mental health and symptoms of behavioral and emotional problems in toddlers. Infant Behavior and Development, 27(2), 134–149.

Mantymaa, M., Tamminen, T., Puura, K., Luoma, I., Koivisto, A. M., & Salmelin, R. (2006). Early mother–infant interaction: Associations with the close relationships and mental health of the mother. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 24(3), 213–231.

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 371

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

McManus, B. M., & Poehlmann, J. (2012). Parent–child interaction, maternal depressive symptoms and preterm infant cognitive function. Infant Behavior and Development, 35(3), 489–498.

Meins, E., Fernyhough, C., Wainwright, R., Clark-Carter, D., Das Gupta, M., Fradley, E., & Tuckey, M. (2003). Pathways to understanding mind: Construct validity and predictive validity of maternal mind-mindedness. Child Development, 74(4), 1194–1211.

Melchior, M., Chastang, J. F., De Lauzon, B., Galara, C., Saurel-Cubizolles, M. J., & Larroque, B. (2011). Maternal depression, socioeconomic position, and temperament in early child- hood: The EDEN mother–child cohort. Journal of Affective Disorders, 137(1–3), 165–169.

Mensah, F. K., & Kiernan, K. E. (2009). Parents’ mental health and children’s cognitive and social development: Families in England in the Millennium Cohort Study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 45(11), 1023–1035.

Molfese, V. J., Rudasill, K. M., Beswick, J. L., Jacobi-Vessels, J. L., Ferguson, M. C., &White, J. M. (2010). Infant temperament, maternal personality, and parenting stress as contributors to infant developmental outcomes. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 56(1), 49–79.

Murray, L. (2009). The development of children of postnatally depressed mothers: Evidence from the Cambridge longitudinal study. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 23(3), 185–199.

Murray, L., & Cooper, P. J. (1996). The impact of postpartum depression on child develop- ment. International Review of Psychiatry, 8(1), 55–63.

Murray, L., FioriCowley, A., Hooper, R., & Cooper, P. (1996). The impact of postnatal depression and associated adversity on early mother–infant interactions and later infant outcome. Child Development, 67(5), 2512–2526.

Nicholls, K., & Ayers, S. (2007). Childbirth-related post-traumatic stress disorder in couples: A qualitative study. British Journal of Health Psychology, 12(4), 491–509.

Paulson, J. F., Keefe, H. A., & Leiferman, J. A. (2009). Early parental depression and child language development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 50(3), 254–262.

Pawlby, S., Sharp, D., Hay, D., & O’Keane, V. (2008). Postnatal depression and child outcome at 11 years: The importance of accurate diagnosis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 107(1–3), 241–245.

Pierrehumbert, B., Nicole, A., Muller-Nix, C., Forcada-Guex, M., & Ansermet, F. (2003). Parental post-traumatic reactions after premature birth: Implications for sleeping and eating problems in the infant. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 88, 400–404.

Punamaki, R. L., Repokari, L., Vilska, S., Poikkeus, P., Tiitinen, A., Sinkkonen, J., et al. (2006). Maternal mental health and medical predictors of infant developmental and health problems from pregnancy to one year: Does former infertility matter? Infant Behavior and Development, 29(2), 230–242.

Quevedo, L. A., Silva, R. A., Godoy, R., Jansen, K., Matos, M. B., Tavares Pinheiro, K. A., et al. (2012). The impact of maternal post-partum depression on the language develop- ment of children at 12months. Child: Care, Health and Development, 38(3), 420–424.

Ramchandani, P. G., Domoney, J., Sethna, V., Psychogiou, L., Vlachos, H., & Murray, L. (2013). Do early father–infant interactions predict the onset of externalising behaviours in young children? Findings from a longitudinal cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 54(1), 56–64.

Ramchandani, P., Stein, A., Evans, J., O’Connor, T. G., & Team, A. S. (2005). Paternal depression in the postnatal period and child development: A prospective population study. Lancet, 365(9478), 2201–2205.

Skovgaard, A.M., Olsen, E.M., Houmann, T. B., Christiansen, E., Lichtenberg, A., & Jorgensen, T. (2007). Markers of mental health problems based on public health nurses’ assessments of 0- to 1-year-old children. The Copenhagen County Child Cohort 2000, 169(11), 1006–1010.

Slade, A., Grienenberger, J., Bernbach, E., Levy, D., & Locker, A. 2005. Maternal reflective functioning, attachment, and the transmission gap: A preliminary study. Attachment and Human Development, 7(3), 283–298.

Slater, A. (1995). Individual differences in infancy and later IQ. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 36(1), 69–112.

Steadman, J., Pawlby, S., Mayers, A., Bucks, R. S., Gregoire, A., Miele-Norton, M., et al. (2007). An exploratory study of the relationship between mother–infant interaction and

372 Y. Parfitt et al.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

maternal cognitive function in mothers with mental illness. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 25(4), 255–269.

Stein, A., Malmberg, L. E., Sylva, K., Barnes, J., Leach, P., & Team, F. C. C. C. (2008). The influ- ence of maternal depression, caregiving, and socioeconomic status in the post-natal year on children’s language development. Child: Care, Health and Development, 34(5), 603–612.

Tabachnick, B. S., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson International Edition.

Talge, N. M., Neal, C., & Glover, V. (2007). Antenatal maternal stress and long-term effects on child neurodevelopment: How and why? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 48(3–4), 245–261.

Tomlinson, M., Cooper, P., & Murray, L. (2005). The mother–infant relationship and infant attachment in a South African peri-urban settlement. Child Development, 76(5), 1044–1054.

Tough, S. C., Siever, J. E., Benzies, K., Leew, S., & Johnston, D. W. (2010). Maternal well- being and its association to risk of developmental problems in children at school entry. BMC Pediatrics, 10(1), 19.

Tough, S. C., Siever, J. E., Leew, S., Johnston, D. W., Benzies, K., & Clark, D. (2008). Maternal mental health predicts risk of developmental problems at 3 years of age: Follow up of a community based trial. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 8(1), 16.

Van Batenburg-Eddes, T., De Groot, L., Huizink, A. C., Steegers, E. A. P., Hofman, A., Jaddoe, V. W. V., et al. (2009). Maternal symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy affect infant neuromotor development: The generation R study. Developmental Neuropsychology, 34(4), 476–493.

Wan, M. W., & Green, J. (2009). The impact of maternal psychopathology on child–mother attachment. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 12(3), 123–134.

Westbrook, T. R., & Harden, B. J. (2010). Pathways among exposure to violence, maternal depression, family structure, and child outcomes through parenting: Amultigroup analysis. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(3), 386–400.

Zhu, H. L., Loo, K. K., Min, L., Yin, Q. Y., Luo, H., Chen, L., et al. (2007). Relationship between neurobehaviours of Chinese neonates and early mother–infant interaction. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 25(2), 106–121.

Infant Development: A Family Systems Perspective 373

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Inf. Child. Dev. 23: 353–373 (2014) DOI: 10.1002/icd

 

 

Copyright of Infant & Child Development is the property of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.

"Is this question part of your assignment? We can help"

ORDER NOW