Change in mother-infant interactive behavior: Relations to change in the mother, the infant, and the social context

Ruth Feldman, Charles W. Greenbaum, Linda C. Mayes, Shmuel H. Erlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines relations between change in mother-infant interaction and change in parental and infant traits. Forty-seven mother-infant dyads were observed at 3 months in face-to-face interaction and at 9 months in two play situations, face-to-face social play and exploratory play interaction. Following Belsky's (1984) "determinants of parenting" model, changes in maternal anxiety, infant temperament, and spousal support were assessed. Decreases in maternal trait anxiety and in infant difficult temperament from 3 to 9 months predicted an increase in mother sensitivity in the two play situations. A decrease in infant difficulty and an increase in father involvement were related to a reduction in maternal intrusiveness during social play. Finally, decreases in maternal anxiety and in infant difficulty and an increase in father involvement predicted an increase in infant exploratory play. The data suggest the importance of change in paternal, maternal, and infant traits as additional dimensions to be included in ecological theories of infant development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a Rothschild Foundation Fellowship.

Funding

This research was supported by a Rothschild Foundation Fellowship.

FundersFunder number
Rothschild Foundation

    Keywords

    • Change
    • Mother-infant interaction
    • Stability
    • Temperament
    • Trait anxiety

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