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Dev Psychobiol. 2009 Dec;51(8):625-37. doi: 10.1002/dev.20397.

Maternal prenatal anxiety, postnatal caregiving and infants' cortisol responses to the still-face procedure.

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1
Department of Psychology Centre for Emotional Health Macquarie University North Ryde New South Wales 2109, Australia. kerry-ann.grant@psy.mq.edu.au

Abstract

This study prospectively examined the separate and combined influences of maternal prenatal anxiety disorder and postnatal caregiving sensitivity on infants' salivary cortisol responses to the still-face procedure. Effects were assessed by measuring infant salivary cortisol upon arrival at the laboratory, and at 15-, 25-, and 40-min following the still-face procedure. Maternal symptoms of anxiety during the last 6 months of pregnancy were assessed using clinical diagnostic interview. Data analyses using linear mixed models were based on 88 women and their 7-month-old infants. Prenatal anxiety and maternal sensitivity emerged as independent, additive moderators of infant cortisol reactivity, F (3, 180) = 3.29, p = .02, F (3, 179) = 2.68, p = .05 respectively. Results were independent of maternal prenatal depression symptoms, and postnatal symptoms of anxiety and depression. Infants' stress-induced cortisol secretion patterns appear to relate not only to exposure to maternal prenatal anxiety, but also to maternal caregiving sensitivity, irrespective of prenatal psychological state.

PMID:
19739133
DOI:
10.1002/dev.20397
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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