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J Appl Dev Psychol. 2017 Jan-Feb;48:59-68. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2016.12.001. Epub 2016 Dec 29.

Maternal Emotion Regulation Strategies, Internalizing Problems and Infant Negative Affect.

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Northern Illinois University.
Yale University.


Recent work has identified links between mothers' self-regulation and emotion regulation (ER) and children's social-emotional outcomes. However, associations between maternal ER strategies (e.g., reappraisal, suppression), known to influence internalizing problems in adults, and children's negative affect (NA) have not been considered. In the current study, the direct and indirect relationships, through maternal internalizing problems, between maternal use of ER strategies and infant NA are examined. The potential effects of infant NA on maternal internalizing difficulties are also considered. Ninety-nine mothers and their infants participated across three time points during the first year postpartum. Higher maternal suppression was indirectly related to higher infant NA, through maternal internalizing problems; lower maternal reappraisal also was indirectly related to higher infant NA through maternal internalizing problems. Infant NA at four months postpartum was related to mothers' internalizing problems 6 months postpartum. The implications of these findings for future research and intervention are discussed.


Bi-Directional Relations; Emotion Regulation; Infants; Internalizing Problems; Negative Affect; Temperament

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