Mother-toddler interaction patterns associated with maternal depression

Penny B. Jameson, Donna M. Gelfand, Elisabeth Kulcsar, Douglas M. Teti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Interactive coordination was observed in laboratory play interactions of pairs of 29 clinically depressed and 14 nondepressed mothers and their 13-29-month-old children (M= 18.9 months). Nondepresscd mothers and their children displayed more interactive coordination than depressed-mother dyads (p < .001). Depressed mothers were less likely to repair interrupted interactions, and their toddlers were less likely to maintain interactions than nondepressed controls. Toddlers matched their nondepressed but not their depressed mothers' negative behavior rates. Results suggested that early interventions focus on training mothers to attend to, maintain, and repair mother-child interactions to more closely approximate normal levels of interactive coordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-550
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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