The Context and Experience of New Mothers: Postpartum Depression, Family Relationships, Knowledge of Infant Development, and Infant Outcomes
knowledge of infant development
AdvisorWilhelm, Mari S.
Committee ChairWilhelm, Mari S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMaternal psychological well-being is one of many factors that shape the interactions a woman has with her infant. According to Belsky's (1984) Determinants of Parenting Process Model, he suggests that maternal personality and psychological well-being play a significant role in the observation of parenting behaviors. This model was utilized as the overarching framework for this dissertation. The dissertation, in the form of three manuscripts, outlines important factors within the marital relationship that impact postpartum depression, then exploring the moderation of depression by knowledge of infant development in four behavioral scales observed during a mother-infant interaction. Finally, two maternal behaviors that impact child outcomes were utilized as predictors of infant social-emotional and cognitive outcome, while testing for moderation by infant age.Results. In study one, women were more likely to report postpartum depression when they experienced more arguments with family and lower relationship depth. The second study found that knowledge of infant development moderated maternal reports of postpartum depression, thus allowing women with higher knowledge to maintain positive behaviors compared to women with low or average knowledge. The third study indicated that verbal stimulation resulted in higher scores for infant social-emotional and cognitive development, whereas maternal sensitivity was the only variable impacting social-emotional development. The test of moderation by infant age found mothers of older infants did speak more to their older infants, but the differences were minimal.Conclusion. Marital relationships play a significant role in promoting healthy maternal psychological well-being during motherhood. When psychological well-being is compromised via postpartum depression, decreases in maternal behaviors result in lower scores during maternal-child interactions. Maternal sensitivity and verbal stimulation uniquely contributed to infant outcomes. In addition, infant age may impact the observance of these two maternal behaviors resulting in increased or decreased observances based on the infant's age.Thus, use of Belsky's Determinants of Parenting Process Model within this dissertation confirmed the importance of maternal personality and psychological well-being in parenting behaviors. Mothers impacted by postpartum depression suffered a reduction in parenting behaviors, though higher knowledge appeared to buffer these negative effects. Implications for interventions and future work are discussed within each study.
Degree ProgramFamily & Consumer Sciences