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Infant Behav Dev. 2009 Jun;32(3):298-304. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2009.04.004. Epub 2009 May 19.

Right frontal EEG asymmetry and behavioral inhibition in infants of depressed mothers.

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  • 1Florida Atlantic University, 5353 Parkside Drive, Jupiter, FL 33458, USA. njones@fau.edu


Recent studies have shown associations between maternal psychopathology and inhibited behaviors in infants. Moreover, physiological factors have been identified as affecting the continuity of behavioral inhibition across childhood. The purpose of the present study was to examine electroencephalogram (EEG) activity and inhibited behavior in 12-month-old infants of depressed versus non-depressed and mothers. Repeated measures MANOVAs indicated that the infants of mothers with stable psychopathology had greater relative right frontal EEG asymmetry, a pattern that typically accompanies greater negative affect and greater withdrawal behaviors. Infants of affectively ill mothers also showed more proximal behaviors toward a stranger and a novel toy than infants of well mothers, but fewer non-proximal behaviors toward their mothers. These results are discussed within a framework of behavioral inhibition for infants exposed to early psychopathologies in their mothers.

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