Publication details

”How do they feel when a baby cries?” Relationships between maternal characteristics and their perception of infant crying.



Year of publication 2012
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference European Conference on Developmental Psychology, 23. – 27. 8. 2011, Bergen, Norway.
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Field Psychology
Keywords Infant crying; mother-child interactions; maternal trait anxiety
Description Problematic or inconsolable Infant crying is considered to cause one of the first problems in mother-child interactions. Mother's ability to soothe her infant depends not only on infant's soothability but also on her perception of the cry and on her emotional responses to it. The links between infant crying behaviour, maternal characteristics (anxiety, depression, maternal self-esteem) and maternal perception and emotional responses to the unknown infant's cry will be discussed in this study. The data on 300 women were collected during their pregnancy and after delivery. Maternal psychological characteristics were obtained from self-report questionnaires (STAI-T, BDI-II, MSRI-s) during the first data collection (in the third trimester of pregnancy). The data about infant's health, crying, eating and sleeping behaviour were obtained during the second data collection (between 4th and 8th week after delivery). The second data collection also included the original questionnaire Feelings about Infant Crying and Infant Crying Characteristics (inspired by Zeifman, 2003). Respondents were asked to see a videoclip of an unknown crying and fussing infant and then to rate (on 7-point Likert scale) their agreement/disagreement with adjectives describing the infant's crying and fussing behaviour and with subjectives describing their feelings about the behaviour. Factor analysis extracted three factors from each of both parts of the questionnaire. The relationships between maternal characteristics and their perception of infant crying and emotional response to it were found. The impact of these links on the perception of infant crying and on mother-infant interactons will be disccused.
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