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ERIC Number: EJ1050071
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Stability of Parental Care across Siblings from Undisturbed and Challenged Pregnancies: Intrinsic Maternal Dispositions of Female Rhesus Monkeys
Shirtcliff, Elizabeth A.; Phan, Jenny M.; Lubach, Gabriele R.; Crispen, Heather R.; Coe, Christopher L.
Developmental Psychology, v49 n11 p2005-2016 Nov 2013
The concept of fetal programming is based on the idea that the developmental trajectory of infants is adjusted in response to in utero conditions. In species with extended parental care, these prenatally derived tendencies are further substantiated by behavioral attributes of the mother during the postnatal period. We investigated the stability of maternal behavioral interactions with infant monkeys and carefully varied prenatal conditions across siblings reared by the same mother. We hypothesized that effects of prenatal disturbance and the infant's susceptibility would be differentially affected by maternal attributes. Using hierarchical linear modeling, we analyzed observational data on 121 rhesus macaques reared by a total of 35 multiparous mothers. A portion of the variance in 5 dyadic behaviors was statistically driven by the infant (or was unique to a particular mother-infant pair), but stable maternal propensities and a consistent style of care across siblings also substantially influenced behavioral interactions. Moreover, the magnitude and direction of the prenatal effects were contingent on a female's intrinsic dispositions. When mothers typically exhibited high levels of a corresponding behavior, responsiveness to infants was enhanced as a consequence of prenatal disturbance. The opposite was true for less expressive females. Challenges to the well-being of pregnancy thus served to accentuate maternal predispositions and served to magnify the range of variation in mother-infant behavior across the whole population.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: AI067518; HD39386; HD057064