Maternal Depressive Symptoms During the Pre- and Postnatal Periods and Infant Attention to Emotional Faces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Eeva Leena Kataja
  • Linnea Karlsson
  • Jukka M. Leppänen
  • Juho Pelto
  • Tuomo Häikiö
  • Saara Nolvi
  • Henri Pesonen

  • Christine E. Parsons
  • Jukka Hyönä
  • Hasse Karlsson

Research units

  • University of Turku
  • Tampere University
  • Aarhus University


We examined how infants’ attentional disengagement from happy, fearful, neutral, and phase-scrambled faces at 8 months, as assessed by eye tracking, is associated with trajectories of maternal depressive symptoms from early pregnancy to 6 months postpartum (decreasing n = 48, increasing n = 34, and consistently low symptom levels n = 280). The sample (mother–infant dyads belonging to a larger FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study) was collected between 5/2013–6/2016. The overall disengagement probability from faces to distractors was not related to maternal depressive symptoms, but fear bias was heightened in infants whose mothers reported decreasing or increasing depressive symptoms. Exacerbated attention to fearful faces in infants of mothers with depressive symptoms may be independent of the timing of the symptoms in the pre- and postnatal stages.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ID: 32013024