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25-06-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2020

Relations of Maternal Depression and Parenting Self-Efficacy to the Self-Regulation of Infants in Low-Income Homes

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2020
Randi A. Bates, Pamela J. Salsberry, Laura M. Justice, Jaclyn M. Dynia, Jessica A. R. Logan, Mihaiela R. Gugiu, Kelly M. Purtell
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There is increasing recognition that young children’s self-regulation provides a foundation for overall wellness later in life. Yet, infants reared in poverty may exhibit less-developed self-regulation compared to their more economically-advantaged peers. Factors associated with poverty that may influence early self-regulation include maternal depression and parenting self-efficacy. However, few researchers have examined how both parenting self-efficacy and maternal depression may affect young children’s self-regulation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations among maternal depression, parenting self-efficacy, and infant self-regulation for a racially diverse sample of 142 mother–infant dyads living in low-income households in the United States. Maternal depressive symptomatology was determined with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depressive Scale. Parenting self-efficacy was determined with a self-report measure, reflecting caregivers’ mindset or feelings reflecting competency as a parent of an infant. Infant self-regulation was measured by parental report of the Infant Behavior Questionnaire Short Form Effortful Control subscale. While maternal depressive symptomatology and self-efficacy were directly and significantly correlated with infant self-regulation, results of a mediation model suggested that parenting self-efficacy mediated the relationship between maternal depressive symptomatology and infant self-regulation. Lower maternal depressive symptomatology predicted better parenting self-efficacy, in turn predicting better infant self-regulation. This study increases our understanding of how early factors shape the self-regulation of infants reared in low-income homes—highlighting the potential role of targeting parenting self-efficacy for parenting interventions for mothers experiencing depressive symptoms.

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