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Infant Behav Dev. 2010 Dec;33(4):545-54. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2010.07.006. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

Late-preterm birth, maternal symptomatology, and infant negativity.

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Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


The present study examined infant negativity and maternal symptomatology by term status in a predominately low-income, rural sample of 132 infants (66 late-preterm) and their mothers. Late-preterm and term infants were group-matched by race, income, and maternal age. Maternal depression and anxiety symptoms were measured with the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 (BSI-18) when infants were 2 and 6 months of age. Also at 6 months, infant negativity was assessed by global observer ratings, maternal ratings, and microanalytic behavioral coding of fear and frustration. Results indicate that after controlling for infant age, late-preterm status predicted higher ratings of infant negativity by mothers, but not by global observers or microanalytic coding, despite a positive association in negativity across the three measures. Further, mothers of late-preterm infants reported more elevated and chronic co-morbid symptoms of depression and anxiety, which in turn, was related to concurrent maternal ratings of their infant's negativity. Mothers' response to late-preterm birth and partiality in the assessment of their infant's temperament is discussed.

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