Effects of maternal depressive symptoms and infant gender on the interactions between mothers and their medically at-risk infants.
To examine the effects of maternal depressive symptoms and infant gender on interactions between mothers and medically at-risk infants.
Longitudinal, descriptive secondary analysis.
Neonatal intensive care unit, intermediate care unit, and infectious disease clinic of the tertiary medical centers in the Southeast and East.
One hundred and eight preterm infants and their mothers, 67 medically fragile infants and their mothers, and 83 infants seropositive for HIV and their primary caregivers were studied in their homes between 6 and 24 months.
Main outcome measures
Observation and the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment Inventory were used to assess the interactions of mothers and their medically at-risk infants. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.
The level of depressive symptoms did not differ between the mothers of boys and mothers of girls in the three groups. Mothers of medically fragile infants had higher levels of depressive symptoms than mothers of preterm infants at 6 months corrected age and similar levels of depressive symptoms as HIV-positive mothers at 12 months. Mothers of medically fragile infants with elevated depressive symptoms were less attentive and more restrictive to their infants. HIV-positive mothers with elevated depressive symptoms were less attentive to their infants. The effects of gender on mother-infant interactions were not moderated by maternal depressive symptoms.
Maternal depressive symptoms had a somewhat negative effect on the interactions of mothers and medically at-risk infants.
Cho, J; Holditch-Davis, D; Miles, MS
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