Infant frontal EEG asymmetry in relation with postnatal maternal depression and parenting behavior

Transl Psychiatry. 2017 Mar 14;7(3):e1057. doi: 10.1038/tp.2017.28.


Right frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry associates with negative affect and depressed mood, which, among children, are predicted by maternal depression and poor parenting. This study examined associations of maternal depression and maternal sensitivity with infant frontal EEG asymmetry based on 111 mother-6-month-infant dyads. There were no significant effects of postnatal maternal depression or maternal sensitivity, or their interaction, on infant EEG frontal asymmetry. However, in a subsample for which the infant spent at least 50% of his/her day time hours with his/her mother, both lower maternal sensitivity and higher maternal depression predicted greater relative right frontal EEG asymmetry. Our study further showed that greater relative right frontal EEG asymmetry of 6-month-old infants predicted their greater negative emotionality at 12 months of age. Our study suggested that among infants with sufficient postnatal maternal exposure, both maternal sensitivity and mental health are important influences on early brain development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Depression, Postpartum*
  • Depressive Disorder*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Parenting*