Cognitive biases in processing infant emotion by women with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in pregnancy or after birth: A systematic review

Webb, R. & Ayers, S. (2015). Cognitive biases in processing infant emotion by women with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in pregnancy or after birth: A systematic review. Cognition and Emotion, 29(7), pp. 1278-1294. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2014.977849

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Abstract

Perinatal psychological problems such as post-natal depression are associated with poor mother-baby interaction, but the reason for this is not clear. One explanation is that mothers with negative mood have biased processing of infant emotion. This review aimed to synthesise research on processing of infant emotion by pregnant or post-natal women with anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Systematic searches were carried out on 11 electronic databases using terms related to negative affect, childbirth and perception of emotion. Fourteen studies were identified which looked at the effect of depression, anxiety and PTSD on interpretation of infant emotional expressions (k = 10), or reaction times when asked to ignore emotional expressions (k = 4). Results suggest mothers with depression and anxiety are more likely to identify negative emotions (i.e., sadness) and less accurate at identifying positive emotions (i.e., happiness) in infant faces. Additionally, women with depression may disengage faster from positive and negative infant emotional expressions. Very few studies examined PTSD (k = 2), but results suggest biases towards specific infant emotions may be influenced by characteristics of the traumatic event. The implications of this research for mother-infant interaction are explored.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cognition and Emotion on 4 Dec 2014, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02699931.2014.977849
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anxiety, Cognitive bias, Face perception, Major depression, Perinatal period
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Child Health & Children's Nursing
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/5120

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