Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine which of the four common approaches to coding maternal-infant interaction best discriminates between mothers with and without postpartum depression. Methods: After extensive training, four research assistants coded 83 three minute videotapes of maternal infant interaction at 12. month postpartum visits. Four theoretical approaches to coding (Maternal Behavior Q-Sort, the Dyadic Mini Code, Ainsworth Maternal Sensitivity Scale, and the Child-Caregiver Mutual Regulation Scale) were used. Twelve month data were chosen to allow the maximum possible exposure of the infant to maternal depression during the first postpartum year. The videotapes were created in a laboratory with standard procedures. Inter-rater reliabilities for each coding method ranged from .7 to .9. The coders were blind to depression status of the mother. Results: Twenty-seven of the women had major depressive disorder during the 12. month postpartum period. Receiver operating characteristics analysis indicated that none of the four methods of analyzing maternal infant interaction discriminated between mothers with and without major depressive disorder. Conclusion: Limitations of the study include the cross-sectional design and the low number of women with major depressive disorder. Further analysis should include data from videotapes at earlier postpartum time periods, and alternative coding approaches should be considered. Nurses should continue to examine culturally appropriate ways in which new mothers can be supported in how to best nurture their babies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Phychiatric Mental Health