We examined implications of within-person fluctuations in maternal sensitivity on child behaviors during mother- child interaction and assessed child temperament as a moderator. Mother-toddler dyads (N = 64, Mage = 27.20 months, SDage = 5.18) were observed interacting in a series of tasks over the course of a 1-hr laboratory visit, and maternal and child behaviors were rated in 60-s intervals. Parents also reported on child temperamental pleasure and anger proneness. Above and beyond between-person associations and controlling for systematic changes across tasks, associations between fluctuations in maternal sensitivity and child behaviors emerged and were moderated by child temperament. Specifically, temperamental pleasure buffered momentary decreases in maternal sensitivity. For children low (vs. high) on temperamental pleasure, decreases in maternal sensitivity in a given 60-s interval were more strongly associated with decreases in child attention to task, decreases in positive engagement with mother, and increases in child negative affect in the same interval. Additionally, for children with high (vs. low) on anger proneness, increases in maternal sensitivity in a given 60-s interval were more strongly associated with increases in child positive engagement and decreases in negative affect, and these interaction patterns provided partially support for anger proneness as a differential susceptibility factor.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.
- Anger proneness
- Maternal sensitivity
- Temperamental pleasure
- Within-person fluctuations