In a community-based sample of 104 infants and their mothers, we hypothesized a pathway from postnatal maternal symptoms of depression to child emotion dysregulation, and tested at 6 months of age the mediation role of alpha asymmetry at frontal and parietal sites. We recorded infant resting-state EEG at 6 months of age. Child emotion dysregulation was measured at 24 months by the Child Behavior Checklist Dysregulation Profile derived from the CBCL 1½-5. Maternal depression symptoms were scored 6 months after the delivery by the Anxious/Depressed scale of the Adult Self-Report. We used structural equation modeling to test the mediation model from maternal depression symptoms to child emotion dysregulation mediated by frontal and parietal alpha asymmetry. The mediation model provided an excellent fit to the data [χ2(3)= 3.088, p =.378; RMSEA =.017, CFI =.1.00; SRMR = 0.040]and explained 23.3% of the variance in child emotion dysregulation. The indirect path via parietal alpha asymmetry was significant (β =.065; SE =.033; 95% CI =.001–.139; p =.048), i.e. greater levels of maternal depression symptoms predicted left parietal alpha asymmetry, which predicted higher levels of child emotion dysregulation. The direct effect, i.e. the pathway linking maternal depression symptoms and child emotion dysregulation above and beyond the indirect effects, was also significant. We found evidence for a partial mediation role of left parietal alpha asymmetry in a longitudinal pathway from postnatal maternal symptoms of depression to child emotion dysregulation, providing support for left parietal asymmetry as an index of biological vulnerability to emotion dysregulation in the first years of life.
- Child dysregulation
- EEG alpha asymmetry
- Maternal postnatal depression
- Mediation model
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology