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The Stability Of Maternal Interpretation Of Infant's Facial Expressions During Pre‐and Postnatal Period And Its Relation To Prenatal Attachment

A. Siddiqui, M. Eisemann, Bruno Hauagglauof
Published 2000 · Psychology

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The study explores maternal ability to perceive and interpret infant's emotional expressions during prenatal and postnatal period. One hundred forty‐nine women participated in this study. Women were recruited randomly for the study at their third trimester of pregnancy by midwives or health visitors from the district mother care centres. The IFEEL‐Picture, a projective test was used to assess maternal perception and interpretation of infant emotion during third trimester of pregnancy and early postnatal period. In addition, the expectant women completed a self‐administered questionnaire PAI #opPrenatal Attachment Inventory#cp measuring prenatal attachment towards their unborn baby. The results revealed that mothers interpreted infant emotions overwhelmingly in positive terms in both periods. Significant positive correlations between the two assessments suggest consistency in maternal interpretation of infant emotions. Moreover, results showed that the primipara mothers used the category joy more often in prenatal assessment than the multipara mothers. Whereas, the primipara mothers used the category fear was less often in postnatal assessment. The result thus is indicating for the importance of the current context of experience. However, mothers who were classified as medium attached used the category interest significantly more often in both assessment periods, whereas those who were classified as low used the category content more often in both period, suggests that women do have some representation of infant's emotions even before the birth of their own child.
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