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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Correlations between primary maternal preoccupation, maternal depression and anxiety, and infant pain behaviour self-regulation Bourdon, Brianne Juella


Identifying mechanisms that may underlie alteration in infant pain behaviour is important for preventing the adverse impacts of routine infant pain. While it is known that prenatal maternal depression and anxiety (MDA) predicts postnatal alteration in infant pain behaviour self-regulation, the contribution of prenatal primary maternal preoccupation (PMP) on infant pain behaviour remains unknown. The twofold aims of this secondary analysis study were to compare measures of PMP between mothers with and without MDA during the second trimester of pregnancy and relationships between and amongst prenatal MDA and PMP and postnatal infant pain behaviour self-regulation in a matched sample of 21 mother-infant dyads. Analyses of MDA were based on data from the EPDS, HAM-D, and HAM-A tools that mothers completed at second trimester and the analysis of three measures of alteration in infant pain behaviour self-regulation (strained/erratic limb movement, immobility, and weak/exhausted cry) from the original study. The analysis of PMP measures were based on the sum of PMP scale scores for each of the seven PMP behaviours and a total PMP score calculated across the seven behaviours. As hypothesized, mothers with MDA had significantly higher PMP scores at second trimester and excessive PMP predicted strained/erratic limb movement and immobility in infants with prenatal MDA exposure. These findings support and extend findings of the original study. They suggest that PMP and MDA are comorbid during pregnancy and that both may contribute to infant pain behaviour dysregulation and delay in recovery from pain. More research is required to help validate the preliminary PMP study findings. Future studies should include concurrent analysis of prenatal data from mothers (MDA, PMP) and postnatal data from mothers (caregiving behaviour, salivary cortisol) and infant (changes in heart rate, salivary cortisol, facial action, behavioural self-regulation). This will further understanding of the underlying role that MDA and PMP play on infant pain response and will help inform targeted development of infant pain interventions sensitive to the needs of mothers with prenatal mental health conditions and their infants as appropriate.

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