Maternal perceptions of the infant: Relationship to maternal self-efficacy during the first six weeks' postpartum

Janet M. Fulton, Ann M. Mastergeorge, Joel S. Steele, Robin L Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Mothers' perceptions of their infants and their own levels of self-efficacy contribute to developing maternal-infant attunement. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the associations between maternal perceptions of their own infants relative to other infants and maternal self-efficacy in a group of ethnically diverse, low-income, first-time mothers during the first six weeks postpartum. By employing a structural equation model approach, we explored relationships between the predictor (maternal neonatal perceptions) and dependent variable (maternal self-efficacy). Changes in maternal perceptions of their own infants significantly contributed to self-reported levels of self-efficacy while controlling for concurrent self-esteem. Maternal perceptions of her infant as less difficult than the average infant at six weeks postpartum predicted increased levels of maternal self-reported self-efficacy. The present study supports further exploration of the first six weeks postpartum as a sensitive period for targeting intervention and support, particularly for mothers and infants at highest risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-338
Number of pages10
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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