Infants of intrusive and withdrawn mothers

Nancy Aaron Jones, Tiffany Field, Nathan A. Fox, Marisabel Davalos, Julie Malphurs, Kirsten Carraway, Saul Schanberg, Cynthia Kuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Two styles of mother-infant interactions have been observed in depressed mothers, including an intrusive style (overstimulating behavior) and a withdrawn style (understimulating behavior). To examine how these styles affect infants, we assessed 87 infants and their mothers, who had been assigned to "intrusive" or "withdrawn" profiles, based on their face-to-face interactive behaviors with their 3-month-old infants. Behavioral assessments were made at 3, 6, and 12 months. The results indicated that infants of withdrawn mothers showed less optimal interactive behavior, greater relative right frontal EEG asymmetry (due to decreased left frontal EEG activation and increased right frontal EEG activation), and lower Bayley Mental Scale scores at 1 year. Infants of intrusive mothers had higher catecholamine and dopamine levels, and their EEG patterns showed greater relative left frontal EEG asymmetry (due to increased left frontal EEG activation and decreased right frontal EEG activation).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-186
Number of pages12
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


  • Intrusive withdrawn physiology EEG mother-infant interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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