Maternal Affect, Work and Family Conflicts, and Infant Negative Affectivity: A Longitudinal Study of Working Mothers in Singapore

Abstract

Infant negative affectivity (NA) refers to an infant temperament characterized by a predisposition toward anger, frustration, fear, and sadness. There is growing recognition of the influence of maternal factors on infant NA which could affect an infant’s long term development. This paper documented the preliminary findings of a longitudinal study that aimed to explore maternal factors and infant NA at six-week (T1) and six-month postpartum (T2). 80 working mothers were recruited at T1 and T2 from a regional hospital in Singapore. Mothers reported on their work and family conflicts, anxiety and depression symptoms, and temperament of their newborn infants. Results of paired t-tests showed that compared to T1, mothers at T2 reported significant increases in family and work conflicts as well as infant NA. Anxiety and depression symptoms did not differ between T1 and T2. Bivariate correlation analyses showed that infant NA at T1 was associated with T1 scores on work and family conflicts, and depression symptoms. Infant NA at T2 was associated with infant NA at T1, as well as T2 scores on work and family conflicts, anxiety, and depression. Finally, increases in infant NA from T1 to T2 were associated with family-to-work conflicts at T1. Education level was the only demographic factor that was associated with infant NA at T1. The present findings showed that mental health status and family-work balance of working mothers are crucial factors that influence infant temperament.



Author Information
Yvaine Yee Woen Koh, the National University of Singapore, Singapore
Catherine So-Kum Tang, The National University of Singapore, Singapore
Lu Xi Chen, The National University of Singapore, Singapore
Jean Wei-Jun Yeung, The National University of Singapore, Singapore

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2020
Stream: General Psychology

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