The Still-Face Paradigm and bidirectionality: Associations with maternal sensitivity, self-esteem and infant emotional reactivity

Ann M. Mastergeorge, Katherine Paschall, Sophie R. Loeb, Ashley Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Still-Face Paradigm (SFP) is a structured stressful event within which researchers have investigated the influence of maternal psychological and behavioral characteristics on infant behavior. The present investigation contributes to this body of work by examining the joint contributions of maternal and child behavioral and affective characteristics on subsequent behaviors and affectations following the SFP. A sample of non-clinically depressed mothers and their infants (n= 31) engaged in a modified Still-Face Paradigm (SFP), followed by a period of toy play. These interactions were videotaped and behaviorally coded along the following dimensions: maternal sensitivity prior to the SFP and during toy play, infant negative emotional reactivity during the still-face, and infant resistance during the reunion phase. Additionally, mothers reported global self-esteem and this was examined as a predictor of infant behavior. Results revealed significant bidirectional influences such that maternal self-esteem predicted infant emotional reactivity, maternal sensitivity pre-SFP predicted infant resistance during the reunion phase, and infant resistance predicted subsequent levels of maternal sensitivity. Indirect effects were also examined, and provided additional support for bidirectionality in mother-infant interactions. Implications for clinical practice are discussed in light of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-397
Number of pages11
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Bi-directionality
  • Infant emotional reactivity
  • Maternal sensitivity
  • Self-esteem
  • Still-face paradigm

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