This study investigated (a) stability and change in infant affective responses to the still-face interaction, (b) whether maternal depression affected infant responses, and (c) whether responses to the still-face interaction predicted toddler problem behaviors. Infants (63 girls and 66 boys) of European American mothers (67 depressed and 62 nondepressed) were observed in the still-face interaction at 2, 4, and 6 months. Affect and gaze were coded on a 1-s time base. There were stable individual differences in gazing away and in rates of negative affect. Developmental change occurred only for gazing away, which increased. At 18 months, infants who failed to smile at 6 months in the still-face interaction showed more externalizing-type behaviors than did other toddlers. Infants who failed to cry at 6 months showed fewer internalizing-type behaviors. Mothers' current depressive symptoms and infants' earlier responses to the still-face interaction made independent, comparable contributions to problem behaviors at 18 months.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies