Infant Emotionality: Observational Methods and the Validity of Maternal Reports
This study was designed to improve the observational measurement of emotionality, and to test factors that influence the validity of maternal reports. More than 150 infants were visited at home with their mothers, two thirds of whom were depressed. These visits yielded 4 different observational measures of positive and negative emotionality at both 6 and 9 months. These were standard assessments (based on LabTab), naturalistic interactions, atypical reactions to the standard assessments, and the still‐face procedure. Atypical reactions were consistently related to traditional measures of emotionality. Responses to the still‐face procedure also generally cohered with the other measures. Aggregation improved agreement between mothers and observers. Depressed mothers' reports of negative emotionality were less accurate at 6 months than those of nondepressed mothers. Parenting experience appeared to be associated with greater maternal accuracy. Taken together the findings provide some support for both sides of the controversy surrounding the validity of maternal reports.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
10.1207/S15327078IN0404_08 About DOI