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Prenatal reflective functioning and accumulated risk as predictors of maternal interactive behavior during free play, the still-face paradigm, and two teaching tasks

Smaling, H., Huijbregts, S., Suurland, J., van der Heijden, C., Mesman, J., Van Goozen, Stephanie Helena Maria and Swaab, H. 2016. Prenatal reflective functioning and accumulated risk as predictors of maternal interactive behavior during free play, the still-face paradigm, and two teaching tasks. Infancy 21 (6) , pp. 766-784. 10.1111/infa.12137

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Abstract

This study examined whether prenatal reflective functioning (RF) was related to mothers’ interactive style across contexts with their 6-month-old infants (M age = 6.02 months, SD = 0.41, 54% boys), and to what extent quality of prenatal RF could account for the influence of accumulated risk on maternal interactive behavior. Accumulated risk was defined as the sum-score of a selection of risk factors that have been associated with sub- optimal infant development. Mother–infant dyads (N = 133) were observed during free play, two teaching tasks, and the Still-Face Paradigm (SFP). Better prenatal RF was asso- ciated with more positive maternal behavior in all settings and less negative behavior dur- ing teaching and SFP reengagement. Accumulated risk and prenatal RF predicted shared variance in maternal interactive behavior (with unique predictive effects observed only for RF on sensitivity during teaching and SFP play, and for accumulated risk on sensitivity and positive engagement during SFP play, and internalizing-helplessness during SFP reen- gagement). Accumulated risk had an indirect effect on maternal sensitivity during teaching and SFP play through prenatal RF. These findings suggest not only that RF may be tar- geted prenatally to improve mother–infant interactions, but also that enhancing RF skills may ameliorate some of the negative consequences from more stable perinatal risk factors that influence parent–child interactions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0732-9598
Funders: NWO
Date of Acceptance: 2 February 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:54
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/87499

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