Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Ann M. Berghout Austin


Ann M. Berghout Austin


Shelley Lindauer


Judith Holt


This study examined the relationship between infants' reactivity and mothers' emotionality during the early postpartum period, specifically during the first days of life and again by three months of age. The Clinical Neonatal Behavioral Scale (CLNBAS) was used to evaluate the infants. The mothers were evaluated at the same time by responding to questions on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).

Forty-six mother-infant dyads were recruited from the Logan Regional Hospital childbirth classes for first-time parents. Minimum criteria for participation were that the mother must be married, be at least 18 years of age, have at least a high school education, with the infant must having a minimum APGAR score of 7 on the second APGAR evaluation and being the firstborn. There were 27 male and 19 female infants in the study.

After the initial sign-up for participation, the mothers were contacted prior to the baby's due date and arrangements were made to visit them for the first evaluation in the home. At the time of the first evaluation (TI ), a date was set for the second evaluation (T2).

Several aspects of the mother-infant interactive process and the relationship between mothers' emotionality and the infants' reactivity were noted in the collected data. This study focused mainly on the infants' reactivity to the social emotional items of the CLNBAS in relationship to the mothers' EPDS scores or level of emotionality, but other CLNBAS areas were also studied.

Infants' reactivity Tl and mothers' emotionality T2 had a statistically significant relationship for CLNBAS items, "response to face and voice" and "tracking the red ball." Mothers previously diagnosed with depression scored higher on the EPDS Tl and T2 than mothers not previously diagnosed as depressed, and their infants scored lower on the CLNBAS when compared to the infants whose mothers were not previously diagnosed with depression.