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    The purpose of this study was to investigate correlates of preterm (PT) infant's cortisol reactivity and the association to infant negative affect, during a mother-infant interaction procedure. Participants included 48 infants born prematurely (gestational age < 37 weeks) and their mothers, assessed when infants were 12 months old corrected for prematurity. The examined variables comprised both neonatal and environmental dimensions including maternal interactive behavior. Infant negative affect and maternal interactive behavior were assessed with a standardized mother-infant interaction task. A baseline infant saliva sample was collected before the interaction began, and a second sample after the interaction episodes ended. Results revealed that decrease of infant's cortisol concentration was significantly associated with the exposure to more sensitive, and less intrusive maternal behaviors. However, once controlled for neonatal risk, family SES and maternal psychological distress, the associations were rendered non-significant. Although the association between cortisol reactivity and negative affect trended toward significance, maternal intrusiveness was the only significant predictor of observed infant negative affect. Findings suggest the importance of primary relational experiences on PT infants' early regulatory competencies. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Vanessa Moutinho, Joana Baptista, Ana R Mesquita, Dieter Wolke, Carolina Toscano, Carla Moreira, Ana C Bernardo, Isabel Soares. Cortisol reactivity and negative affect among preterm infants at 12 months during a mother-infant interaction task. Infant behavior & development. 2023 Feb;70:101784

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    PMID: 36401957

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