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Journal of Human Growth and Development

versão impressa ISSN 0104-1282versão On-line ISSN 2175-3598


ALFAYA, Cristiane  e  LOPES, Rita de Cássia S.. Repercussions of depressive mothers'interactive behaviours on the development of the infant´s exploratory behaviour. Rev. bras. crescimento desenvolv. hum. [online]. 2005, vol.15, n.2, pp.69-81. ISSN 0104-1282.

The impact of maternal depression on child development has been widely studied. It has been understood based mainly on an interactionist theoretical framework, focusing on the mother-infant interaction quality. Depressive mothers' interactive behaviours tend to be characterized as either intrusive or withdrawn. For the authors, both styles may have a negative impact on infant development because the stimulation and modulation of the state of alertness offered by the mother are inadequate for the infant's emotional regulation. Little is known about the impact of maternal interactive styles on the development of the infant's exploratory behaviour during the first year of life. Therefore, the present study aims to theoretically reflect on the infant's emotional development and, in particular, on the infant's exploratory behaviour in the context of maternal depression. Initially, some studies on mother-infant interaction and the social emotional development in the first year of life are described. Empirical studies on infant development in the context of maternal depression are then highlighted, and finally, empirical studies on mother-infant interactive behaviours in the context of maternal depression are discussed. The development of the infant's exploratory behaviour is understood based on theoretical perspectives which highlight the infant's sense of competence and voluntary control, as well as manual, tactile and visual exploration, directed attention, demonstrations of preference and curiosity, locomotion capacity, environment exploration behaviours, and cooperation. The importance of considering maternal behaviour for better understanding the development of the infant's exploratory behaviour comes from the idea that the mother needs to present permissiveness and encouragement regarding the infant's behaviour, stimulating the infant's sense of competence and voluntary control so that he/she can separate and become secure to explore the environment. Similarly, the continuous expression of the maternal feeling of confidence and expectation during the infant's exploratory behaviours is fundamental to the development and maintenance of the infant's exploratory behaviours, which is independent of the maternal depressive symptomatology.

Palavras-chave : Mother-infant interaction; Maternal depression; Exploratory behaviour.

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