School of Health and Human Sciences

The infant crying questionnaire was designed to assess mothers’ beliefs about infant crying.  There are three versions: prenatal(doc), 6 months(doc) (likely appropriate for birth to about 1 year), and toddler(doc) (likely appropriate between age 1 and 2).  We have not used the final measure with fathers but believe it would be appropriate to do so based on a study with a preliminary version that involved both mothers and fathers (Leerkes, Parade & Burney, 2010).

The final measure includes five subscales, two of which are infant-oriented (Attachment and Crying as Communication) and three of which are parent-oriented (Minimization, Directive Control, and Spoiling). Subscale item content is as follows: Attachment (8 items; e.g., I want to make baby feel secure/cared for), Minimization (9 items; I want baby to stop crying because I can’t get anything else done), Directive Control (8 items; e.g., I will teach baby how to get along with other people), Spoiling (3 items; e.g., how I respond when my baby cries could spoil my baby), and Crying as Communication (3 items; e.g., think baby is trying to communicate with me).  The subscales can be retained, or can be averaged to yield overall infant-oriented and mother-oriented belief scales. Scoring instructions(doc) are the same for all versions.

In our research, infant-oriented beliefs have demonstrated predictive validity to maternal sensitivity and to child outcomes such as attachment security and adaptive emotion regulation behaviors (Leerkes, Gudmundson, & Burney, 2010, Leerkes et al., 2016), whereas mother-oriented beliefs demonstrate predictive validity to less sensitive maternal behavior and infant behavior problems (Haltigan et al., 2012; Leerkes et al., 2015, 2016).

Validation Paper:

Other Papers in Which We Used This Measure:

  • Leerkes et al., Su, J., Calkins, S.D., Supple, A.J., O’Brien, M. (2016).  Pathways by which mothers’ physiological arousal and regulation while caregiving predict sensitivity to infant distress. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 769-779.
  • Leerkes et al., Supple, A.J., O’Brien, M., Calkins, S.D., Haltigan, J.D., Wong, M., & Fortuna, K.(2015). Antecedents of maternal sensitivity to infant distress: Integrating attachment, social information processing, and psychobiological perspectives.  Child Development, 86, 94-111.

Papers Based on the Preliminary Version of the Measure:

  • Leerkes, E. M., Parade, S.H., & Burney, R.V. (2010). Origins of mothers’ and fathers’ beliefs about infant crying. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31, 467-474. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2010.09.003
  • Leerkes, E.M., Gudmundson, J.A., & Burney, R.V. (2010, March).  The Infant Crying Questionnaire: A new measure of parents’ beliefs about crying. Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, Baltimore, MD.