Maternal anxiety and toddler depressive/anxiety behaviors: The direct and moderating role of children's focused attention

Alisa Egotubov, Avigail Gordon-Hacker, Eyal Sheiner, Noa Gueron-Sela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Attention mechanisms have a pertinent role in shaping developmental pathways to anxiety and depressive disorders. The current study examined the direct and interactive associations between maternal anxiety symptoms, children's focused attention, and children's anxiety and depression behaviors in early toddlerhood. Participants were 150 mother-child dyads (50 % female) that were assessed at two time points. At 12 months of child age, mothers reported about their anxiety symptoms and children's focused attention. Children's focused attention was also observed and rated from an individual play task. At 18 months of age, mothers reported about children's anxiety and depression behaviors. Focused attention predicted child anxiety and depressive behaviors, with different patterns of associations between observed and reported measures of attention. There was also a significant interaction between maternal anxiety symptoms and observed children's focused attention. A positive association between maternal anxiety symptoms and child anxiety and depression symptoms was evident only for children with above-average levels of observed focused attention during play. Results suggest that different aspects of focused attention play a role in maternal reported anxiety and depression behaviors in early development and may modulate the intergenerational transmission of anxiety.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101800
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Volume70
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Focused attention
  • Infancy
  • Intergenerational transmission of anxiety
  • Toddlerhood

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal anxiety and toddler depressive/anxiety behaviors: The direct and moderating role of children's focused attention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this