Mothers with zero Beck depression scores act more “depressed” with their infants

Tiffany Field, Connie Morrow, Brian Healy, Tamar Foster, Diane Adlestein, Sheri Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Mothers who scored zero on the Beck Depression Inventory (N = 25) were compared to “depressed” mothers (high scores on the Beck) (N = 39) and nondepressed mothers (N = 98) during face-to-face interactions with their 5-month-old infants. The interaction videotapes were rated on the Interaction Rating Scales and were coded second-by-second for attentive/affective behavior states. The zero Beck mothers and their infants received lower ratings and were in less positive behavior states (alone or together) than the high scoring Beck “depressed” mother/infant dyads and even more frequently than the nondepressed mother/infant dyads. The lower activity levels, lesser expressivity, and less frequent vocalizing were suggestive of “depressed” behavior in both the mothers and their infants. In addition, the infants of the zero Beck mothers had lower vagal tone and lower growth percentiles (weight, length, and head circumference) than the infants of nondepressed mothers, although they did not differ from the infants of depressed mothers on these measures. These data suggest that mothers who report no depressive symptoms may present as much, if not greater risk, for their infants than mothers who do report depressive symptoms on the Beck Depression Inventory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Mothers with zero Beck depression scores act more “depressed” with their infants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this