Stability and change in interaction of Israeli mothers and infants

Pnina S. Klein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    50 Scopus citations


    The current study describes the developmental trends of specific nurturant behaviors, defined as mediated learning experience (MLE), of mothers towards their infants over a period of 18 months and compares them across different caregiving situations. Observations of molar sequences of meaningful behaviors, preselected on the basis of Feuerstein's theory of MLE (1979a). were conducted in unstructured home environments of 40 middle-class Israeli infants when they were 6, 12, and 24 months of age. Each observation consisted of mother-infant interactions during a feeding, a bathing, and a play situation. The MLEs were generally found to increase with age between 6 and 24 months, regardless of the different caregiving situations studied. Exceptions were noted at age 24 months, when significantly more MLEs were observed at play than in the other caregiving situations, and at 12 months, when mediated feelings of competence during feeding were found to be more frequent than at 6 or 24 months. Mothers were also highly consistent in the amount of MLE they provided at each age level and for the various situations. Finally, differences in styles of mediation were observed between mothers identified as either high or low mediators. The results demonstrate the advantages of a molar, rather than molecular, approach to monitoring parent-infant interactions that are critical to the child's healthy psychosocial development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-70
    Number of pages16
    JournalInfant Behavior and Development
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1988


    • home environment
    • learning
    • mother-infant interaction
    • play
    • social development


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