The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

The influence of mindfulness and mental health on maternal sensitivity and child outcomes across the perinatal period

The influence of mindfulness and mental health on maternal sensitivity and child outcomes across the perinatal period
The influence of mindfulness and mental health on maternal sensitivity and child outcomes across the perinatal period
The first part of this thesis is a narrative synthesis of the literature that examines mindfulness and child outcomes across the perinatal period. A total of 13 studies met inclusion criteria and were discussed in relation to two categories: studies that explored dispositional mindfulness and studies that explored the feasibility and/or effectiveness of mindfulness interventions. The review highlighted evidence that suggests that dispositional prenatal mindfulness may be naturally protective against the development of psychopathology during the perinatal period. Intervention studies provide promising evidence that mindfulness interventions (both brief and intensive) can improve mood and wellbeing and have positive effects on some child health and socio-emotional outcomes. However, empirical evidence is still in its infancy, and very few conclusions can be drawn from this research in relation to the impact of maternal mindfulness on the development of maternal sensitivity and its longer-term impact on child development. The review identified a fundamental need for replication of studies using randomised controlled trials with active control groups and larger sample sizes. Longer follow-up periods are also required in order to identify whether the positive post-intervention effects are sustained into the postnatal period and beyond.

The second part of this thesis is an empirical study investigating the associations between mental health, dispositional mindfulness and maternal sensitivity in expectant mothers during their third trimester of pregnancy. Signal Detection Theory was applied in order to differentiate between discrimination (whether expectant mothers can discriminate between happy and sad infant emotions) and response bias (whether expectant mothers have a propensity to rate emotional faces as either ‘happy’ or ‘sad’). Results showed that mental health difficulties positively correlated with a greater propensity to interpret infant expressions (both positive and negative expressions) as ‘sad’. Higher dispositional mindfulness was also associated with lower depression and lower anxiety. An association between dispositional mindfulness and maternal sensitivity was not found. Findings are discussed in relation to previous research and also highlight limitations with the maternal sensitivity task design. This research adds to the limited literature on dispositional mindfulness.
University of Southampton
Carr, Sara E.
1096fb43-c2c1-4544-ad00-de593392af0c
Carr, Sara E.
1096fb43-c2c1-4544-ad00-de593392af0c
Garner, Matthew
3221c5b3-b951-4fec-b456-ec449e4ce072

Carr, Sara E. (2017) The influence of mindfulness and mental health on maternal sensitivity and child outcomes across the perinatal period. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 148pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The first part of this thesis is a narrative synthesis of the literature that examines mindfulness and child outcomes across the perinatal period. A total of 13 studies met inclusion criteria and were discussed in relation to two categories: studies that explored dispositional mindfulness and studies that explored the feasibility and/or effectiveness of mindfulness interventions. The review highlighted evidence that suggests that dispositional prenatal mindfulness may be naturally protective against the development of psychopathology during the perinatal period. Intervention studies provide promising evidence that mindfulness interventions (both brief and intensive) can improve mood and wellbeing and have positive effects on some child health and socio-emotional outcomes. However, empirical evidence is still in its infancy, and very few conclusions can be drawn from this research in relation to the impact of maternal mindfulness on the development of maternal sensitivity and its longer-term impact on child development. The review identified a fundamental need for replication of studies using randomised controlled trials with active control groups and larger sample sizes. Longer follow-up periods are also required in order to identify whether the positive post-intervention effects are sustained into the postnatal period and beyond.

The second part of this thesis is an empirical study investigating the associations between mental health, dispositional mindfulness and maternal sensitivity in expectant mothers during their third trimester of pregnancy. Signal Detection Theory was applied in order to differentiate between discrimination (whether expectant mothers can discriminate between happy and sad infant emotions) and response bias (whether expectant mothers have a propensity to rate emotional faces as either ‘happy’ or ‘sad’). Results showed that mental health difficulties positively correlated with a greater propensity to interpret infant expressions (both positive and negative expressions) as ‘sad’. Higher dispositional mindfulness was also associated with lower depression and lower anxiety. An association between dispositional mindfulness and maternal sensitivity was not found. Findings are discussed in relation to previous research and also highlight limitations with the maternal sensitivity task design. This research adds to the limited literature on dispositional mindfulness.

Text
The Influence of Mindfulness and Mental Health on Maternal Sensitivity and Child Outcomes Across the Perinatal Period - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
Download (2MB)

More information

Published date: May 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 415887
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415887
PURE UUID: bd1d8319-4da4-4c70-b385-6ead7bdbc848

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 19:11

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×