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J Pediatr. 2012 Jul;161(1):104-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.12.044. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Maternal self-efficacy reduces the impact of prenatal stress on infant's crying behavior.

Author information

  • 1Department of Developmental Psychopathology, Child and Adolescents Psychiatric Clinic, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. margarete.bolten@upkbs.ch

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether prenatal stress is associated with behavioral and emotional regulation problems (crying/fussing) in infants, after controlling for confounding factors. Furthermore, the study investigated the stress-buffering effect of maternal self-efficacy.

STUDY DESIGN:

Data were collected in 120 pregnant women (29 ± 3.2 weeks gestation) and their infants at 6 weeks of age. Expecting mothers completed a structured interview and self-report questionnaires on prenatal stress and self-efficacy. Crying/fussing data were obtained with a validated parental diary.

RESULTS:

After controlling for confounding variables, multiple regression analyses show that prenatal stress and self-efficacy accounted for 20% of the variance of infant's fussing and crying behavior. Results suggest a mediating role of self-efficacy. Babies of mothers reporting high levels of prenatal stress cried less when their mother had high levels of self-efficacy compared with mothers with low self-efficacy. In addition, mothers of infants with excessive crying reported more symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety in pregnancy.

CONCLUSION:

To foster the development of well-adapted parent-infant relationships and potentially to reduce infant crying in the early postpartum phase, health care professionals need special education about the effects of prenatal stress and interventions that promote self-efficacy.

Copyright © 2012 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22289357
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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