Prenatal negative affectivity and trauma-related distress predict mindful parenting during toddler age: Examining parent-infant bonding as a mechanism

Lauren M. Laifer, David Dilillo, Rebecca L. Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite findings demonstrating the importance of parental present-centered awareness, factors undermining mindful parenting have received less attention. Increasingly, evidence points to parental psychopathology as a salient risk factor for parenting difficulties. Thus, the goal of the present study was to investigate specific dimensions of parental trauma-related distress and general negative affectivity during pregnancy as predictors of mindful parenting during toddler age. Parental psychopathology, parent-infant bonding, and mindful parenting were assessed in a sample of heterosexual couples (N = 159) across four waves of data collection spanning pregnancy to child age two. Data were analyzed using path analysis within a dyadic framework. Results demonstrated the unique impact of maternal trauma-related distress during pregnancy (e.g., intrusions and avoidance) on facets of mindful parenting more than two years later. Further, among both mothers and fathers, general negative affectivity common across internalizing disorders undermined mindful parenting through impaired parent-infant bonding. Findings highlight the need for early intervention efforts that incorporate mindfulness strategies to reduce subthreshold symptoms of prenatal psychopathology, promote healthy bonding, and improve parental awareness and self-regulation, thereby enhancing the overall parent-child relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • bonding
  • internalizing
  • Keywords:
  • mindful parenting
  • prenatal psychopathology
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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