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Love at First Touch: Maternal, Paternal, and Infant Touch During Early Triadic and Dyadic Parent-Infant Interactions

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Love at First Touch: Maternal, Paternal, and Infant Touch During Early Triadic and Dyadic Parent-Infant Interactions

Mercuri, Marisa (2017) Love at First Touch: Maternal, Paternal, and Infant Touch During Early Triadic and Dyadic Parent-Infant Interactions. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The parent-infant relationship is the first to develop for the infant, as parents are infants most common and significant social partners. Further, touch represents a critical means of communication between infants and their parents. As such, parent-infant interactions serve as a primary context in which the progression of touch can be studied.
A series of two studies examined the quality and quantity of mothers’, fathers’, and infants’ use of touch during triadic and dyadic parent-infant interactions using longitudinal research designs. The first study (Study 1) investigated mothers’ and fathers’ specific touching behaviours during their very first interaction with their newborn infants, as well as mothers’ and infants’ touching behaviours 3−months later both before and after a perturbed interaction (i.e. the still-face period). The second study (Study 2) investigated how both mothers and infants utilize touch during naturalistic face-to-face interactions from 3- to 5-months, and considered how mothers and infants compare in regards to their use of specific touching behaviours.
Findings revealed that parents and their infants employ a wide range of touching behaviours over the course of their interactions, as well as the variability in the quantity (frequency, duration) and quality (type) of their touch during the first 5-months of life. Across both studies, infants were observed to employ many of the same types of touch as their mothers, and at frequencies and durations that were comparable to their mothers. As such, infants appear to be competent in their ability to utilize touch to communicate, and also contribute substantially to their interactions through touch.
Taken together, the present research expanded our knowledge of the progression of parental and infant touch during early parent-infant exchanges and how it changes as a function of the infant’s age and the nature of the interactive context. Results highlighted the importance of investigating touch from multiple parameters and longitudinally. Finally, the results provide a first step in our understanding of how and how much mothers, fathers, and infants use touch to contribute to their social interactions.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Mercuri, Marisa
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:24 May 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Stack, Dale and Serbin, Lisa
ID Code:982593
Deposited By: MARISA MERCURI
Deposited On:10 Nov 2017 13:49
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55
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