Relationship between maternal pathology and infant social withdrawal: Analysis of a 268-outpatient population


Objective: Sustained withdrawal is a sign of infant distress and may be determined by extreme conditions like organic pathology or relationship problems. The Alarm Distress Baby Scale is the best instrument to identify withdrawal in infants between 2 and 24 months of age. The aim of this study was to assess the association between infant social withdrawal behavior and maternal pathology in the perinatal period. Method: The target sample of the study was 134 mother-child couples examined at the Policlinico Agostino Gemelli General Pediatric Outpatient Clinic and Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic, in Rome. We analyzed the relationship between withdrawal behavior and psychological and organic prenatal/postnatal pathology, using the Chi Square exact test. Results: When the mother suffers from both organic and psychological pathologies in the perinatal period, the risk of withdrawal is increased: the probability of infant withdrawal behavior is increased by maternal organic postnatal pathology by 14 times, by maternal psychological postnatal pathology by 9 times, and by maternal psychological postnatal depression, measured by Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, by almost 4 times. Conclusion: Increased or sustained withdrawal reactions can be observed in unsatisfactory mother-child interaction. Maternal risk factors should be strictly considered in the pediatric clinical evaluation.

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Maulucci, M. , Currò, V. , Maulucci, S. , Rosa, E. and Giovanni, L. (2013) Relationship between maternal pathology and infant social withdrawal: Analysis of a 268-outpatient population. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 311-315. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.33031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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