The relations between maternal prenatal anxiety or stress and child’s early negative reactivity or self-regulation: a systematic review

Riikka Korja, Sarah Nolvi, Kerry Ann Grant, Catherine McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the present review, we examine the association between maternal prenatal stress or anxiety and children’s early negative reactivity or self-regulation. The review includes 32 studies that focus on pregnancy-related anxiety, state or trait anxiety, perceived stress, and stressful life events in relation to child’s crying, temperament, or behavior during the first 2 years of life. We searched four electronic databases and 32 studies were selected based on the inclusion criteria. Twenty-three studies found an association between maternal prenatal anxiety or stress and a child’s negative reactivity or self-regulation, and typically the effect sizes varied from low to moderate. The association was found regardless of the form of prenatal stress or anxiety and the trimester in which the prenatal stress or anxiety was measured. In conclusion, several forms of prenatal anxiety and stress may increase the risk of emotional and self-regulatory difficulties during the first 2 years of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851–869
Number of pages19
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Volume48
Issue number6
Early online date2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • pregnancy
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • self-Regulation
  • early behavior
  • negative reactivity

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