Maternal working memory, emotion regulation, and responsivity to infant distress
Author ORCID Identifier
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Maternal responsivity is important to caregiving, reflecting a mother's capacity to initiate prompt behavioural responses to infant's cues, supporting the infant's own regulatory development. There is limited research examining cognitive and affective processes, including working memory and emotion regulation, in the context of maternal responsivity to infant distress. Therefore, we examined associations between working memory, emotion regulation, and behavioural responsivity to simulated infant distress in 61 mothers. Tests of direct and indirect effects showed (1) greater working memory capacity predicted increased engagement in cognitive reappraisal; (2) increased engagement in cognitive reappraisal predicted longer latency to pick-up a distressed infant simulator; and (3) greater working memory capacity indirectly, through increased engagement in cognitive reappraisal, predicted longer latency to infant distress. These findings indicate the importance of jointly considering maternal working memory and emotion regulation to understand their potential role in the assessment of, and behavioural response to, infant distress cues.
Emotion regulation, Infant distress, Maternal responsivity, Working memory
Martin, Rachel C.B.; Bridgett, David J.; Mayes, Linda C.; and Rutherford, Helena J.V., "Maternal working memory, emotion regulation, and responsivity to infant distress" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 504.
Department of Psychology