Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Ann Stacks


This study sought to replicate and extend findings on the effect of maternal depressive symptoms and their impact on the mother-infant relationship with regard to reflective functioning. The current sample included 101 mother-infant dyads who participated in a longitudinal study seeking to understand the effects of a traumatic childhood and how those experiences impact parenting. Measures included an assessment of depressive symptoms, an interview assessing reflective functioning capacity, and observation of mother-infant interaction. Previous findings were replicated with regard to significant correlations between parenting and reflective functioning. The current study did not find evidence for parenting mediating the relationship between reflective functioning and attachment. However, the present study did find evidence of reflective functioning being a moderator in the relationship between depression and parenting when controlling for risk. Findings of this study support the need for further research to understand how and why reflective functioning may be an important focus for future interventions.