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Publication

Impact of Negative Infant Emotional Reactivity on Maternal Sensitivity with Father Involvement as a Moderator

Earath, Smitha
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the association between infant negative emotional reactivity and maternal sensitivity. The study also explored the moderating effect of father involvement on this association. The participants were 423 two-parent families and their 6 month old infants. This study used data from a larger NICHD-SECC study. The current study used data from telephone interviews; home visits; Revised Early Infancy Questionnaire; Observations from mother-child play interactions; and Father Involvement Questionnaire to measure the study variables. A correlation design was utilized to examine the relation between infant negative emotional reactivity and maternal sensitivity. ANOVA was used to test for the moderation effect with father involvement measured as a categorical variable. Data analysis showed a statistically significant negative association between infant negative emotional reactivity and observed measures of maternal sensitivity. It also showed marginally significant negative correlation between father involvement and maternal sensitivity. A moderating effect was found when plots were graphed for the mean difference in maternal sensitivity. Maternal sensitivity increased between low and high levels of infant negative emotional reactivity when father involvement was medium. This finding suggests that fathers who share their responsibilities equally with the mothers (i.e., the medium father involvement group) were able to have a buffering effect on the link between infant negative emotional reactivity and maternal sensitivity.

Date
2006-05-01
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