Background: It is well known that mother–child relationships may be affected by maternal psychological disorders, but, at present, few experimental studies have investigated the negative impact of postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms on child behaviour using the Still Face paradigm. Objective: The aim of this exploratory work is to investigate whether postpartum stress symptoms may affect mother–child relationships. The underlying hypothesis is that the persistence of postpartum stress symptoms may have a negative outcome on the mother’s tuning with the child. Methods: A sample of 19 pregnant women (mean age = 31.31; SD = 4.50) attended the four phases of the research, from the seventh month of pregnancy. Maternal personality characteristics were assessed by MMPI-2. The Perinatal PTSD Questionnaire was used to assess PTSD symptoms two days and two months after delivery. Three months after childbirth the dyads attended the Still Face paradigm. Results: Data have shown that the persistence of PTSD symptoms has a different effect on early mother–child interactions than those of mothers who have not had postpartum stress symptoms. Conclusion: These data allow us to hypothesise that there are some baseline difficulties in women with PTSD symptoms in producing a positive interactive engagement, not only in relation to the break of interaction caused by the Still episode.
- mother-child interactions
- postpartum ptsd