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Effects of Depressed Mothers on Infants In studying disturbed interactions of depressed mothers and their newborns it has helped us realize the importance of early interactions with infants that can effect later development Infants who interact with depressed mothers particularly chronically depressed mothers have a higher risk for later negative social interaction and behavioral problems Depressed behavior in mothers is related to affective and disturbances in infants Abrams Field Scafidi Prodromidis 1995 Depressed mothers and their infants also appear to share negative affective behavior states more often than non-depressed dyads Abrams et al1995 Along with exhibiting fewer positive facial expressions infants of depressed mothers vocalize less frequently than infants of non-depressed mothers Videotapes of depressed mothers and their infants interacting in face-to-face situations when coded second by second suggest that depressed mothers spend less time looking at their infants touching them and talking to them and they show few positive faces and more negative faces Field 1995 Because of this infants have lower activity levels as well as less vocalization They also tend to look away more frequently with a weary look and protest more often To measure their behavior-state matching the attentiveaffective behavior states of three-month-old infants and their mothers were coded on a negative-to-positive scale Field 1995 The data suggested that the depressed mothers and their infants matched negative behavior states more often and less positive behavior states less often than the non-depressed dyads The depressed dyads spent a greater amount of time together in negative states In contrast the non-depressed mother-infant dyads spent more time in playful states together The infants of depressed mothers greater emphasis to their mothers negative behavior imply that the infants may be mimicking their mothers predominant mood state In another sample cross-spectral analyses of the mothers and infants behavior and heart rate time series suggested greater coherence in the mother-infant states in non-depressed dyads Smith Schwartz Mandell Silberstein Dalack Sacks 1969 Greater coherence was
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