Parental Pre and Postnatal Depression: The Longitudinal Associations with Child Negative Affectivity and Dysfunctional Mother-Child Feeding Interactions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Children (Basel, Switzerland)








child negative affectivity; feeding interactions; postnatal parental depression; prenatal parental depression


BACKGROUND: Many studies have shown the influence of maternal perinatal depression on a child's emotional and behavioral regulation ability; yet there is scarce research on the impact of the father's perinatal depression on the caregiver-infant relationship and the child's development. METHODS: Through a longitudinal study, we investigated maternal and paternal depression and its association with infants' emotionality and mother-infant feeding interactions The sample was constituted of 136 first-time parents (68 couples, and their full-term babies at 3 and 6 months old). At T1 (28th week of pregnancy), T2 (three months old), and T3 (at six months age) parents responded to the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale. At Times 2 and 3, mothers and fathers completed the Infant Behavior Questionnaire, and recorded mother-infant interactions were coded by means of the Feeding Scale. RESULTS: Statistical analyses indicated stability of maternal and paternal depression over time. Correlations emerged between mother's higher depression scores, negative affective state during interactions at three months age, infant food refusal and mother-infant interactional conflict at six months age. Paternal higher depressive scores were associated with the mother-child interactional conflict. To finish, higher parental depression scores were related with infant negative emotionality. CONCLUSION: The current study confirms the relevance of embracing a cumulative risk model to support the child's development with early caregiver-child interventions.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences