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The Relation Between Maternal Mindfulness and Maternal Behavior

Maternal behavior has the potential to drastically impact infants, and higher levels of Maternal Sensitivity and Maternal Predictability have been observed to lead to optimal socioemotional and cognitive developmental outcomes. This study sought to evaluate the relationship between Maternal Mindfulness and two characteristics of maternal behavior- Maternal Sensitivity and Maternal Predictability. Forty-four Mothers and their 6-month-old infants were filmed during a 10-minute semi-structured play period, and these videos were coded using the NICHD Maternal Sensitivity Scales and Maternal Sensory Signals coding scheme. The Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire was administered to assess each mother’s level of mindfulness. While none of the five facets of mindfulness were significantly correlated with Maternal Predictability and 4 of the facets were not significantly correlated with Maternal Predictability, statistical analyses indicated a small but significant positive correlation between the facet of N on-Reactivity to Inner Experience and Maternal Sensitivity. This finding suggests that at least one facet of mindfulness may be relevant to greater levels of maternal sensitivity, though more research is needed to assess both the relationship between Maternal Mindfulness and maternal behavior and to explore other maternal characteristics which are associated with greater Maternal Sensitivity and Maternal Predictability. Answering the question of what allows mothers to behave in sensitive and predictable ways is crucial to fostering optimal infant development.