Early interactions between mothers and their medically fragile infants
© 1999 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. The purpose of this study was to examine the interactions of 56 medically fragile infants and their mothers and to determine the influence of infant age, neurological status, maternal education, ethnicity, and observation location on these interactions. The interactions were observed for about 1 hr every 2 months while in the hospital, 1 month after hospital discharge, and at 6 months corrected age. The age of the infants had the greatest effect on the interaction. As infants grew older, mothers spent less time feeding, involved, holding, in body contact, looking, rocking, gesturing, and touching. However, mothers talked more, and played more with older infants. Older medically fragile infants were alert more, vocalized more, and slept less. Only one variable was directly affected by neurological status: Mothers moved neurologically normal infants more often. The neurologically normal and compromised groups were also more similar at older ages than younger ages in the percentage of time the mother was involved and the infant vocalized. Mothers with more years of education fed their infants more and looked at them more often, and minority mothers talked to their infants less and moved them more.
Holditch-Davis, D; Tesh, EM; Miles, MS; Burchinal, M
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