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Preconception and prenatal stress impact fetal and infant development, and women of color are disproportionately exposed to sociocultural stressors like discrimination and acculturative stress. However, few studies examine links between mothers’ exposure to these stressors and offspring mental health, or possible mitigating factors. Using linear regression, we tested associations between prenatally assessed maternal acculturative stress and discrimination on infant negative emotionality among 113 Latinx/Hispanic, Asian American, Black, and Multiethnic mothers and their children. Additionally, we tested interactions between stressors and potential pre- and postnatal resilience-promoting factors: community cohesion, social support, communalism, and parenting self-efficacy. Discrimination and acculturative stress were related to more infant negative emotionality at approximately 12 months old (M = 12.6, SD = .75). In contrast, maternal report of parenting self-efficacy when infants were 6 months old was related to lower levels of infant negative emotionality. Further, higher levels of parenting self-efficacy mitigated the relation between acculturative stress and negative emotionality. Preconception and prenatal exposure to sociocultural stress may be a risk factor for poor offspring mental health. Maternal and child health researchers, policymakers, and practitioners should prioritize further understanding these relations, reducing exposure to sociocultural stressors, and promoting resilience.


This article was originally published in Development and Psychopathology in 2022.

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Liu et al. supplementary material Tables S1-S10


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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