Parent-infant synchrony and the social-emotional development of triplets

Ruth Feldman, Arthur I. Eidelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


To study the social-emotional development of triplets, 23 sets of triplets, 23 sets of twins, and 23 singleton infants (N = 138) were followed from birth to 2 years. Maternal depression and social support were assessed in the postpartum period, mother-infant and father-infant interaction and the home environment were observed at 3 months, a separation-reunion episode and a maternal interview were conducted at 12 months, and infant behavior problems were evaluated at 24 months, Lower parent-infant synchrony was observed for triplets. Triplets showed less distress during maternal separation and less approach at reunion. Mothers reported lower adjustment and differentiation among siblings for triplets than for twins. Higher internalizing problems were reported for triplets, and the triplet with intrauterine growth retardation showed the poorest outcomes. Behavior problems were predicted by medical risk, maternal depression, parent-infant synchrony, infant approach, and mother adjustment. Discussion focuses on developmental risk when the exclusivity of the parent-infant relationship is compromised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1147
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2004


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