Document Type


Publication Date



The consequences of exposure to prenatal maternal anxiety for the development of child temperament were examined in a sample of 120 healthy, 2-year-old children. Prenatal maternal state and pregnancy-specific anxiety (PSA) were measured five times during pregnancy, and maternal state anxiety was measured again at 2 years post partum. Child temperament was measured at 2 years using the Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire. The relationship between the trajectory of maternal anxiety across gestation and negative affectivity was evaluated using hierarchical linear growth curve modeling. Higher maternal PSA between 13 and 17 weeks of gestation was associated with increased negative temperament in the children. This association could not be explained by postnatal maternal anxiety, demographic, or obstetric factors. Prenatal maternal state anxiety was not associated with child temperament. These findings demonstrate that PSA early in gestation has a distinctive influence on the developing fetus.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Stress, volume 14, in 2011 following peer review. This article may not exactly replicate the final published version. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at


Informa Healthcare



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.