Depressed mothers' neonates improve following the MABI and a brazelton demonstration

Sybil Hart, Tiffany Field, Graciela Nearing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a short-term intervention for improving interaction behaviors of newborn infants with their depressed mothers. Method: Depressed mothers assigned to the experimental group first observed an administration of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) at delivery. Mothers then used a similar instrument, the Mother's Assessment of the Behavior of her Infant (MABI), to independently conduct NBAS-like infant assessments periodically at home. Depressed mothers in the control group were not present when the NBAS was administered at delivery, and they periodically completed written assessments at home of their parenting attitudes and infants' development. Results: One-month NBAS assessments administered by an examiner revealed that experimental group infants performed more optimally than controls on Social Interaction and State Organization. Conclusions: Findings suggested that an intervention consisting of mothers taking part in NBAS/MABI assessments may be a simple and cost- effective technique for benefiting infants of depressed mothers during the early postpartum period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-356
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1998


  • Intervention
  • Maternal depression
  • Mother's Assessment of the Behavior of her Infant (MABI)
  • Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS)
  • Neonates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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