The eye of the begetter: Predicting infant attachment disorganization from women's prenatal interpretations of infant facial expressions

Rosemary E. Bernstein, Catherine M. Tenedios, Heidemarie K. Laurent, Jeffery R. Measelle, Jennifer C. Ablow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Infant-caregiver attachment disorganization has been linked to many long-term negative psychosocial outcomes. While various prevention programs appear to be effective in preventing disorganized attachment, methods currently used to identify those at risk are unfortunately either overly general or impractical. The current investigation tested whether women's prenatal biases in identifying infant expressions of emotion-tendencies previously shown to relate to some of the maternal variables associated with infant attachment, including maternal traumatization, trauma symptoms, and maternal sensitivity-could predict infant attachment classification at 18 months postpartum. Logistic regression analyses revealed that together with women's adult history of high betrayal traumatization, response concordance with a normative reference sample in labeling infant expressions as negatively valenced, and the number of infant facial expressions that participants classified as "sad" and "angry" predicted subsequent infant attachment security versus disorganization. Implications for screening and prevention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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