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Negative emotionality as a candidate mediating mechanism linking prenatal maternal mood problems and offspring internalizing behaviour
Development and Psychopathology  (IF4.151),  Pub Date : 2022-04-20, DOI: 10.1017/s0954579421001747
Cathryn Gordon Green, Eszter Szekely, Vanessa Babineau, Alexia Jolicoeur-Martineau, Andrée-Anne Bouvette-Turcot, Klaus Minde, Roberto Sassi, Leslie Atkinson, James L. Kennedy, Meir Steiner, John Lydon, Helene Gaudreau, Jacob A. Burack, Catherine Herba, Marie-Helene Pennestri, Robert Levitan, Michael J. Meaney, Ashley Wazana

Negative emotionality (NE) was evaluated as a candidate mechanism linking prenatal maternal affective symptoms and offspring internalizing problems during the preschool/early school age period. The participants were 335 mother–infant dyads from the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment project. A Confirmatory Bifactor Analysis (CFA) based on self-report measures of prenatal depression and pregnancy-specific anxiety generated a general factor representing overlapping symptoms of prenatal maternal psychopathology and four distinct symptom factors representing pregnancy-specific anxiety, negative affect, anhedonia and somatization. NE was rated by the mother at 18 and 36 months. CFA based on measures of father, mother, child-rated measures and a semistructured interview generated a general internalizing factor representing overlapping symptoms of child internalizing psychopathology accounting for the unique contribution of each informant. Path analyses revealed significant relationships among the general maternal affective psychopathology, the pregnancy- specific anxiety, and the child internalizing factors. Child NE mediated only the relationship between pregnancy-specific anxiety and the child internalizing factors. We highlighted the conditions in which prenatal maternal affective symptoms predicts child internalizing problems emerging early in development, including consideration of different mechanistic pathways for different maternal prenatal symptom presentations and child temperament.