Depressed mothers' perceptions of infant behavior

Tiffany Field, Connie Morrow, Diane Adlestein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Sixty lower SES, black mothers with high and low Beck Depression Inventory scores were videotaped interacting with their infants. To determine whether the mothers with depressive symptoms perceived their infants' behavior more negatively, both the mothers and trained observers (naive to group assignment) coded the videotapes. The mothers' behavior was coded in the same way. The mothers' and observers' data streams were then analyzed for proportion of time the mothers and infants were in positive, neutral, and negative behavior states and the degree to which the mother and observer agreed (proportion of time they coded the same state and the coherence value based on cross-spectral data analyses). Both the mothers and observers coded the infants of symptomatic mothers more negatively. However, the symptomatic mothers coded their infants' behavior even more negatively than the observers did. In contrast, they coded their own behavior more positively than the observers did. Both groups of mothers underestimated their own negative behavior. Finally, coherence values were lower for the symptomatic mother-observer data streams than for the nonsymptomatic mother-observer data streams, suggesting less agreement between observers and symptomatic mothers on their infants' and their own behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993


  • depressed mothers' perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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