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Maternal Touch and Infants’ Self-Regulatory Behaviors during Face-to-Face Still-Face and Modified Still-Face Interactions

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Maternal Touch and Infants’ Self-Regulatory Behaviors during Face-to-Face Still-Face and Modified Still-Face Interactions

Jean, Amélie D.L. (2013) Maternal Touch and Infants’ Self-Regulatory Behaviors during Face-to-Face Still-Face and Modified Still-Face Interactions. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Touch serves as one of the primary means of external emotion regulation for infants. Despite the important role for touch in infants’ emotion regulation, research examining its relationship to infants’ self-regulatory behaviors is scant. Understanding the relationship between internal and external means of regulation, such as touch, is necessary given the pivotal roles caregivers play in infant emotion regulation.
The current dissertation assessed how maternal touch and infants’ self-regulatory behaviors contribute to infants’ emotion regulation in two studies. Study 1a examined maternal touch and infants’ self-regulatory behaviors in full-term and very-low-birth-weight preterm infant-mother dyads during a Still-Face (SF) procedure. Across periods, the functions of touch used by mothers varied while infants increased their use of self-regulatory behaviors during the SF period. Full-term infants displayed more self-comfort regulatory behaviors following the SF period. Furthermore, functions of maternal touch were associated with infants’ self-regulatory behaviors. Study 1b examined the association between maternal nurturing touch and infants’ self-regulatory behaviors, and infants’ smiling and distress level. Mothers of full-term infants were found to increase their use of nurturing touch when their infants exhibited distress. Furthermore, maternal touch and infants’ self-regulatory behaviors were associated with infants’ smiling.
Study 2 investigated maternal touch and infants’ self-regulatory behaviors during a modified Still-Face with Touch (SF+T) procedure consisting of one Normal period followed by three SF+T periods. Maternal touch modulated infants’ responses to the SF and their reliance on their own regulatory behaviors. Although mothers varied the functions of touch they used across the periods, infants used similar amounts of self-regulatory behaviors. Finally, maternal touch and infants’ self-regulatory behaviors were temporally organized with infants’ affect and attention.
Results from these studies highlight the role of maternal touch as a regulatory strategy and mothers’ ability to use only one modality of communication, touch, to regulate their infants’ affect and attention. Results also extend our knowledge of infants’ emotion regulation by documenting the central roles that both mothers and infants play. Finally, results offer insight on the effect of prematurity on infants’ self-regulatory abilities and on the quality of maternal touch.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Jean, Amélie D.L.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:15 March 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Stack, Dale M.
Keywords:touch, self-regulation, still-face, mother-infant interaction
ID Code:977155
Deposited By: AMELIE JEAN
Deposited On:18 Jun 2013 11:40
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:44
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