The effect of preterm birth on infant negative affect and maternal postpartum depressive symptoms: A preliminary examination in an underrepresented minority sample

Infant Behav Dev. 2015 May;39:159-65. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.02.011. Epub 2015 Apr 11.

Abstract

Objective: To examine the effect of preterm birth on maternal postpartum depressive symptoms and infant negative affect in an underrepresented minority sample.

Method: Participants were 102 mothers and their 3- to 10-month-old infants. Mothers completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised.

Results: Relative to normative samples, the current underrepresented minority sample of mostly Hispanics and Blacks displayed high rates of preterm birth (30%) and maternal postpartum depressive symptoms (17%). Preterm birth had a significant direct effect on postpartum depressive symptoms and infant negative affect. Additionally, there was an indirect effect of postpartum depressive symptoms on the relation between preterm birth and infant negative affect. Specifically, lower birth weight and gestational age predicted higher levels of depressive symptoms in the mother, and higher levels of depressive symptoms in the mother, in turn, predicted higher levels of infant negative affect.

Conclusion: Findings emphasize the importance of screening for postpartum depressive symptoms and infant negative affect among mothers and their preterm infants, especially among families from underrepresented minority backgrounds.

Keywords: Infant negative affect; Minority; Postpartum depression; Preterm birth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Birth Weight
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Premature / psychology*
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Premature Birth / psychology*
  • Young Adult