Indirect Effects of Maternal Sensitivity on Infant Emotion Regulation Behaviors: The Role of Vagal Withdrawal

Nicole B. Perry, Susan D. Calkins, Martha Ann Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

The potential indirect effect of observed maternal sensitivity at 5 months on the development of infants' behavioral regulation of emotion from 5 to 10 months (i.e., distraction and maternal-orientation behaviors) via infant's vagal withdrawal was investigated (N = 230). Results indicated that maternal sensitivity at 5 months was not directly associated with behavioral regulation at 10 months. However, greater maternal sensitivity at 5 months was associated with greater vagal withdrawal at 10 months, after controlling for vagal withdrawal at 5 months. Further, vagal withdrawal at 10 months was associated with greater orientation toward the mother at 10 months, after controlling for 5-month orientation behaviors. The indirect effect of maternal sensitivity on maternal-orientation behaviors was significant, suggesting that infant's vagal withdrawal may be one potential mechanism through which maternal sensitivity is related to behavioral regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-153
Number of pages26
JournalInfancy
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Congress of Infant Studies.

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