Effect of Maternal Mental Health on Mechanism of Child Word Learning



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This study’s purpose was to explore how mother-child one-to-one play might be different between typical and struggling mothers. In the present study, we specifically focused on the dynamic relation among infant’s object looking and mother’s object holding and naming during the interactions that has been suggested to support early learning (Yu and Smith, 2012). The hypothesis is that mothers who are struggling and/or having adjustment issues with newborns are less likely to engage their children in a way which these naming moments are achieved. Though this study is more of a case study due to small sample size, the rich data consisted of observations of over 100000 frames suggests that achievement of naming moments does not depend solely on the health condition (e.g., struggling and adjustment), but rather, the maternal behaviors affected by their condition. The mothers who displayed the negative behavior, intrusiveness or withdrawal, had lower durations of naming moments. On the other hand, the depressed mother who did not display any negative behavior had a duration of naming moments similar the controls, further suggesting the role of condition and experiences in their interaction with their infant.