Prematurity and Maladaptive Mealtime Dynamics: the Roles of Maternal Emotional Distress, Eating-Related Cognitions, and Mind-Mindedness

Tal Yatziv, Noa Gueron-Sela, Gal Meiri, Kyla Marks, Naama Atzaba-Poria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Premature birth and maternal emotional distress constitute risk factors for feeding disorders. This study examined the roles of maternal cognitions in the link between prematurity, emotional distress and mother-infant maladaptive mealtime dynamics in a sample of 134 families (70 preterm, low medical risk; 64 full-term) followed longitudinally. Specifically, maternal cognitions related to eating and health (perception of child vulnerability and concerns about child’s eating) and understanding of mental states (interactional mind-mindedness) were considered. A multiple-mediators model was tested, controlling for infants’ weight and breastfeeding history. Although prematurity did not directly predict mealtime dynamics, multiple-mediation analyses revealed indirect pathways: mothers of preterm newborns reported higher emotional distress, which subsequently predicted perception of child vulnerability and concerns about child’s eating at 6-months; perception of child vulnerability predicted more conflictual mealtime dynamics, whereas concern about child’s eating predicted less reciprocal mealtime dynamics at 12-months. Mind-mindedness at 6-months predicted more reciprocal and less conflictual mealtime dynamics but did not act as a mediator. Implications for understanding pathways from prematurity to feeding disorders are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1103
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume48
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Emotional distress
  • Feeding disorders
  • Mind-mindedness
  • Mother-child interaction
  • Perception of vulnerability
  • Prematurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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