Temporal Patterns of Infant Regulatory Behaviors in Relation to Maternal Mood and Soothing Strategies

  • Cornelia MohrEmail author
  • Mirja H. Gross-Hemmi
  • Andrea Hans Meyer
  • Frank H. Wilhelm
  • Silvia Schneider
Original Article


This study investigates the temporal patterning of infant self-regulatory behaviors (crying/fussing, sleeping) in relation to both infant (age, sex, regulatory problems) and maternal variables (soothing behaviors, mood). Self-regulatory and soothing behaviors were assessed in 121 mother-infant dyads (4–44 weeks) by the Baby’s Day Diary at 5 min intervals over 3 days. Further infant characteristics and maternal mood were assessed by questionnaires (DASS, CES-D, STAI) and the Diagnostic Interview for the Assessment of Regulatory Problems in Infancy and Toddlerhood. Data were analyzed using generalized additive mixed models. Negative maternal mood was associated with a deviant course of crying/fussing during the day. Body contact was associated with reduced variability in the 24 h course of sleep. Mother-infant transactional processes—above and beyond known relationships with overall levels of crying/fussing and sleeping—might play out on the temporal dimension of infant regulatory behaviors.


Infancy Regulatory behaviors Parenting behaviors Maternal mood Generalized additive mixed models 



This study is part of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Swiss Etiological Study of Adjustment and Mental Health (sesam). The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) (project no. A240-104890), the University of Basel, the F. Hoffmann-La Roche Corp., and Basel Scientific Society provided core support for the NCCR sesam.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Medical Ethics Committee of Basel (Switzerland) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all participating mothers included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Child and Adolescent PsychologyRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Swiss Etiological Study of Adjustment and Mental Health, Institute of PsychologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Division of Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology, Department of PsychologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  4. 4.Division of Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Health Psychology, Department of PsychologyUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria

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