Intergenerational transmission of maternal prenatal anxiety to infant fearfulness: the mediating role of mother-infant bonding

Abstract
Purpose This study is the first to directly investigate the mechanistic role of maternal bonding toward her infant in the early intergenerational pathway of risk from maternal anxiety to infant fearfulness. Methods Mothers (N = 216; Mage=32.78) reported on their anxiety and bonding at four time-points between pregnancy and ten-months postpartum. At four and ten-months postpartum, infant temperamental precursors of anxiety were assessed through maternal report and observation. Results Cross-lagged longitudinal path modeling indicated a significant link between prenatal maternal anxiety and infant temperamental fearful withdrawal at 10-months postpartum (R2 = 0.117), which was fully explained by decreased maternal bonding at one-month postpartum and increased infant temperamental negative reactivity at 4-months postpartum. Conclusion Results support the need to foster maternal bonding in preventive perinatal care, particularly in the context of maternal anxiety.
Description
This article was originally published in Archives of Women's Mental Health. The version of record is available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-024-01475-9. © The Author(s) 2024
Keywords
infant negative reactivity, infant temperamental fearful withdrawal, maternal-infant bonding, maternal anxiety, prospective
Citation
Rousseau, S., Katz, D., Schussheim, A. et al. Intergenerational transmission of maternal prenatal anxiety to infant fearfulness: the mediating role of mother-infant bonding. Arch Womens Ment Health (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-024-01475-9