A Privileged Status for Male Infant‐Directed Speech in Infants of Depressed Mothers? Role of Father Involvement
Prior research showed that 5‐ to 13‐month‐old infants of chronically depressed mothers did not learn to associate a segment of infant‐directed speech produced by their own mothers or an unfamiliar nondepressed mother with a smiling female face, but showed better‐than‐normal learning when a segment of infant‐directed speech produced by an unfamiliar nondepressed father signaled the face. Here, learning in response to an unfamiliar nondepressed father’s infant‐directed speech was studied as a function both of the mother’s depression and marital status, a proxy measure of father involvement. Infants of unmarried mothers on average did not show significant learning in response to the unfamiliar nondepressed father’s infant‐directed speech. Infants of married mothers showed significant learning in response to male infant‐directed speech, and infants of depressed, married mothers showed significantly stronger learning in response to that stimulus than did infants of nondepressed, married mothers. Several ways in which father involvement may positively or negatively affect infant responsiveness to male infant‐directed speech are discussed.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
10.1111/j.1532-7078.2009.00010.x About DOI