Maternal depression and infant birth measures relate to how neonates respond to music

Maria Hernandez-Reif, Mark Maluga, Tiffany Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Two-week-old full-term newborns (26 born to depressed mothers and 26 born to non-depressed mothers) were videotaped for three 2-min intervals during: (1) a baseline silent period, (2) the playing of a musical lullaby and, (3) the lullaby with vocals added. More maternal depression symptoms were associated with more obstetric complications and newborns spending less time awake during the two music intervals. When the lullaby was played, infants born to mothers with more obstetric complications cried more and made more facial expressions. Infants who made more facial expressions at baseline spent more time awake during the musical lullaby with vocals but showed more distress, whereas fewer facial expressions indicated greater attention. Greater birthweight was related to sleeping longer during baseline, but spending more time awake and making fewer facial expressions during the musical lullaby without voice. The findings are discussed in terms of potential factors that may relate to infant music preferences in the very early weeks of human development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Birthweight
  • Depression
  • Infant
  • Music
  • Obstetric complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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