Behaviour of infants with Down syndrome and their mothers in the still-face procedure

Hobson, R Peter, Moore, Derek G, Oates, John M and Goodwin, Julia (2008) Behaviour of infants with Down syndrome and their mothers in the still-face procedure. Infancy, 13 (1). pp. 75-89. ISSN 1532-7078 (electronic) 1525-0008 (paper) Full text available

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There has been limited study of how the constitutional characteristics of infants with Down syndrome (DS) influence the patterning of their relations with caregivers. To assess natural and perturbed interactions between infants with DS and their mothers, we tested ten 6-month-old infants with DS and 20 typically developing (TD) 4-month-old of similar mental age. Participants were videotaped with their mothers in a natural face-to-face interaction, a brief period when the mothers adopted a still-face, and a subsequent reengagement phase. There was little to distinguish the infants in the initial phase of natural interaction, but the mothers of infants with DS were more likely to show assertive warmth, and unlike in the case of mothers of TD infants, high maternal directiveness tended to be associated with lower levels of infant looking and lack of fussing. During the still-face episode, infants of both groups showed reduced looking and smiling, although infants with DS tended to show lower levels of fussing and fewer in this group showed fussing in the reengagement phase. Therefore DS infants were somewhat similar to TD infants of comparable mental age in being responsive to the still-face procedure, but showed indications of group differences in intense emotional reactivity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Mental Handicap
Families > Mother Child Relations
Department/People: Special Units

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