86 RESPONSIVITY OF MOTHER-INFANT INTERACTION (MIA) AFTER EXTENDED POSTPARTUM CONTACT (EPP)

Abstract

Mother-infant EPP in other studies enhanced parenting quality. To study how EPP might do this, low-income women were randomly assigned to EPP (n=62) or control (C, n=90) postpartum (pp) beds. EPP pairs averaged 9.3 more hours together during the first 48 than C. MIA observation data collected @ 1,3,6,12 & 18 months (m) pp were examined for probability of transition @ 5 sec. intervals between 4 dyadic states of interaction: both (B), infant (I), mother (M), or neither (N) responding. 14 of 60 comparisons of EPP vs C response transition (RT) probabilities by ANOVA were reliably different @ .05 or less. RT more likely among C were: partner acting in isolation (M→I; 1,12 m), M dropping out (B→I; 3,6,12 m), M not responding (I→I; 3 m), cessation of exchange (B→N; 6,12 m) & M stops signaling (M→N; 6,12,18 m). RT more likely among EPP were continuation & initiation of coacting (B→B, 12 m; M→B, 12,18 m). Two prevalent C RT {B→I (M drops out), M→N (M ceases)} in this study characterized in other research early MIA of nonorganic failure-to-thrive dyads. Of the other RT distinguishing EPP & C dyadic exchange, the 2 (B→B, M→B) more prevalent in the EPP group reflect continuation of or transition into coacting. Conversely, RT more frequent in the C group were: partner acting in isolation (M→I), M failing to respond (I→I), & discontinuation of exchange (B→N). EPP appears to enhance parenting through an intermediary influence upon responsivity of MIA.

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