High levels of antenatal maternal anxiety are associated with altered cognitive control in five-year-old children

Eva Margarita Loomans, O. van der Stelt, M. van Eijsden, R. J. B. J. Gemke, T. G. M. Vrijkotte, B. R. H. van den Bergh

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This longitudinal prospective study examined the relation between maternal anxiety during pregnancy and specific aspects of children's cognitive functioning at age five. Antenatal maternal state-anxiety was measured around the 16th week of pregnancy. Children's neurocognitive functioning was examined using a simple reaction time (RT) task, and a choice RT task. Multiple regression analyses in the total sample (N?=?922) showed that antenatal anxiety was positively related to children's intra-individual variability in RT in the simple task. In a subsample (n?=?100) of women with state-anxiety scores above the 90th percentile, antenatal anxiety was positively associated with mean RT and intra-individual variability in RT in the incompatible trials of the choice RT task. In addition, in this subsample of highly anxious mothers we found a significant positive association in boys but not in girls, between prenatal maternal anxiety and intra-individual variability in RT in the simple task. (c) 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 54:441450, 2012
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-450
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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