Negative temperamental reactivity in infancy and toddlerhood are

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					    Negative Temperamental Reactivity in Infancy and Toddlerhood: Are They Related to

                       Maternal Depression and Anxiety in Pregnancy?


       Alterations of neurodevelopment underlying behavioral problems and

psychopathology have been shown to have their origins in prenatal life. We prospectively

studied the relationship between maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and

individual differences in negative reactivity during infancy and toddlerhood.


       In a prospective-longitudinal study, maternal anxiety was measured at 5-14, 15-27 and

28-40 weeks of pregnancy with the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Pregnancy Anxiety

Questionnaire (PRAQ-R) and Edinburgh Depression Inventory (EDI), in 155 pregnant

women. Infant negative reactivity was measured at 4-8 months with the Infant Behavior

Questionnaire-Revised (IBQ-R) and at 30-36 months with the Early Childhood Behaviour

Questionnaire. Data were analysed with hierarchical regression analyses (SPSS 17.0). Parity,

maternal educational level and postnatal maternal state anxiety, birth weight and sex of the

baby were added as covariates if they were significantly correlated with infant reactivity.


       State anxiety in first trimester (STAI; Mean=35.96; SD=9.92) was significantly

associated with offspring negative reactivity; it explained 8 % of the variance at 4-8 months

(IBQ-R; F (2, 102) = 5.95; p = .004) and 6.5 % of the variance at 30-36 months (ECBQ; F (2,

125) = 7.23; p = .001). Of specific pregnancy related anxieties (PRAQ-R), only third trimester

fear for changes was significantly associated with infant reactivity at 4-8 months, explaining 7
% of the variance (IBQ-R; F (2,102)=7.151; p= .001). Postnatal maternal anxiety was in all

analyses significantly associated with infant reactivity, but it did not account for the influence

of prenatal anxiety.


       Our results provide evidence for an association between maternal anxiety during

pregnancy and negative reactivity in infancy and toddlerhood that is independent of key

sociodemographic and obstetric factors and concurrent postnatal maternal anxiety.

Jun Wang Jun Wang Dr
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