Correlates of depressed mothers’ sensitivity towards their infants: the role of maternal, child, and contextual characteristics
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Number of pages
SourceJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46, 6, (2007), pp. 747-756
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI BO
SW OZ BSI KLP
SW OZ BSI ON
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Social Development
Objective: To examine various maternal, child, and contextual characteristics, as well as the number of risk factors present, to distinguish which factors explain variance in the sensitivity of depressed mothers toward their infants. Method: Participants were depressed mothers (n = 84) with their infants ages 1 month up to 1 year. Mothers were videotaped while bathing their children. The recordings were rated using the sensitivity scale of the Emotional Availability Scales. Results: Three characteristics independently contributed to the explained variance in maternal sensitivity: level of education, feelings of parental incompetence, and family income. In addition, two subgroups were found to be particularly at risk: young mothers with high levels of depressive symptoms and low-income mothers who felt insecure about their parental competence. Together, these factors explained 23% of the variation in sensitivity in our sample of depressed mothers. The number of risk factors explained 9.8% of the variation in sensitivity. Conclusions: The present results have implications for preventive interventions. Identifying specific groups at risk for low maternal sensitivity at an early stage may lead to favorable outcomes of targeted interventions that focus on enhancing depressed mothers' maternal sensitivity and feelingsof parental competence.
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