Maternal Depressive Symptoms During the Pre- and Postnatal Periods and Infant Attention to Emotional Faces

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  • Eeva-Leena Kataja, University of Turku
  • ,
  • Linnea Karlsson, University of Turku
  • ,
  • Jukka M Leppänen, University of Tampere
  • ,
  • Juho Pelto, University of Turku
  • ,
  • Tuomo Häikiö, University of Turku
  • ,
  • Saara Nolvi, University of Turku
  • ,
  • Henri Pesonen, Aalto University
  • ,
  • Christine E Parsons
  • Jukka Hyönä, University of Turku
  • ,
  • Hasse Karlsson, University of Turku

We examined how infants' attentional disengagement from happy, fearful, neutral, and phase-scrambled faces at 8 months, as assessed by eye tracking, is associated with trajectories of maternal depressive symptoms from early pregnancy to 6 months postpartum (decreasing n = 48, increasing n = 34, and consistently low symptom levels n = 280). The sample (mother-infant dyads belonging to a larger FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study) was collected between 5/2013-6/2016. The overall disengagement probability from faces to distractors was not related to maternal depressive symptoms, but fear bias was heightened in infants whose mothers reported decreasing or increasing depressive symptoms. Exacerbated attention to fearful faces in infants of mothers with depressive symptoms may be independent of the timing of the symptoms in the pre- and postnatal stages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Development
Pages (from-to)e475-e480
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

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© 2018 Society for Research in Child Development.

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