Mother and infant patterns of interaction : developmental relationships

Crittenden, Patricia McKinsey, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Ainsworth, Mary D. S., Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Bonvillian, John D., Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Rotondo, John, University of Virginia
Snell, Martha, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Wilson, Melvin, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

This investigation explored the relationship between a mother's pattern of interaction with her infant and her infant's intellectual development and security of attachment. The sample consisted of 73 mother-infant dyads varying in quality of parenting. Seventeen of the infants were known to have been abused, twenty-one were severely neglected, twenty-two were marginally maltreated, and thirteen had not been maltreated at all. Each dyad was seen for a three minute videotaped interaction and a Bayley developmental assessment. Forty-six of the children were seen in the strange situation for the assessment of infant attachment to the mother.

Maternal pattern of interaction was found to be related to quality of parenting (the infant's status as a maltreated child) and to the infant's pattern of interaction. The infant's pattern was found to change when the quality of the adult interactant's pattern changed. Quality of parenting was related to the infant's mental developmental quotient on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. Both maternal pattern of interaction and quality of parenting were related to the infants pattern of attachment. Those children who were most severely maltreated were found to show an unusual combination of responses in the strange situation which was proposed as a possible new pattern of attachment. In general the most negative effects were found in severely neglected children. Abused children had the next most detrimental outcomes with marginally maltreated children performing better and non-maltreated children the best.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Mother and child -- Virginia, Child abuse -- Virginia
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