Background: Chocolate contains several biologically active components potentially having behavioral and psychological consequences.
Aims: We tested whether chocolate consumption and stress experiences during pregnancy predict mother-rated infant temperament at 6 months.
Design and subjects: Prenatal frequency of chocolate consumption and intensity of psychological stress experience of the mothers, and temperament characteristics of the infants 6 months postpartum were evaluated in 305 consecutive, healthy mother-infant dyads.
Results: Mothers who reported daily consumption of chocolate rated more positively the temperament of their infants at 6 months. Maternal prenatal stress predicted more negatively tuned ratings of the infant temperament, particularly among those who reported never/seldom chocolate consumption. However, this effect was not observed among the mothers reporting weekly or daily chocolate consumption.
Conclusions: In addition to producing subjective feelings of psychological well being, chocolate may have effects at multiple environmental and psychological levels.