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Negative emotionality as a candidate mediating mechanism linking prenatal maternal mood problems and offspring internalizing behaviour

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 April 2022

Cathryn Gordon Green
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Eszter Szekely
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Vanessa Babineau
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Alexia Jolicoeur-Martineau
Affiliation:
Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Andrée-Anne Bouvette-Turcot
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Klaus Minde
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Roberto Sassi
Affiliation:
St-Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Leslie Atkinson
Affiliation:
Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
James L. Kennedy
Affiliation:
Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canasda
Meir Steiner
Affiliation:
St-Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
John Lydon
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health and Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Helene Gaudreau
Affiliation:
Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health and Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Jacob A. Burack
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Catherine Herba
Affiliation:
University du Quebec a Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Marie-Helene Pennestri
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Robert Levitan
Affiliation:
Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canasda
Michael J. Meaney
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health and Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Ashley Wazana*
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
*
Corresponding author: Ashley Wazana, email: ashley.wazana@mcgill.ca

Abstract

Negative emotionality (NE) was evaluated as a candidate mechanism linking prenatal maternal affective symptoms and offspring internalizing problems during the preschool/early school age period. The participants were 335 mother–infant dyads from the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment project. A Confirmatory Bifactor Analysis (CFA) based on self-report measures of prenatal depression and pregnancy-specific anxiety generated a general factor representing overlapping symptoms of prenatal maternal psychopathology and four distinct symptom factors representing pregnancy-specific anxiety, negative affect, anhedonia and somatization. NE was rated by the mother at 18 and 36 months. CFA based on measures of father, mother, child-rated measures and a semistructured interview generated a general internalizing factor representing overlapping symptoms of child internalizing psychopathology accounting for the unique contribution of each informant. Path analyses revealed significant relationships among the general maternal affective psychopathology, the pregnancy- specific anxiety, and the child internalizing factors. Child NE mediated only the relationship between pregnancy-specific anxiety and the child internalizing factors. We highlighted the conditions in which prenatal maternal affective symptoms predicts child internalizing problems emerging early in development, including consideration of different mechanistic pathways for different maternal prenatal symptom presentations and child temperament.

Type
Regular Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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