Effect of Three Adult Interaction Styles on Infant Engagement

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Abstract

A within-subjects design was used to investigate the effects of adult interaction styles on infant engagement Three interaction style conditions were created, each of which differed in terms of the stimulation and responsiveness provided by one adult Nine infants of adolescent mothers were videotaped individually in all conditions while interacting with the adult Parent/Caregiver Involvement Scale ratings of the interactions indicate that the independent variable was successfully manipulated Infant engagement was measured in terms of percentages of time spent in each of six mutually exclusive engagement states. Infants in the contingently responsive, moderately stimulating condition spent more than half of their time in interactive forms of engagement Infants responded to the condition with a relatively unresponsive adult providing low levels of stimulation with large amounts of time spent unengaged or in object-focused engagement Results from the overly directive, highly stimulating condition were dominated by the engagement category of watching. Results and follow-up comparisons are discussed in terms of the reactivity of infant engagement to adult behavior and its relevance to interaction-focused intewentions.

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