Father Interaction and Separation Protest.

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Journal Name
Developmental Psychology
Journal Volume
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Spelke, E.
Zelazo, P.
Kagan, J.
Kotelchuck, M.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
Infant protest following separation from the mother has been used as a partial index of the strength of the mother-infant bond, in which case it is assumed that the strength of the bond covaries with the amount of social interaction. In this study, 36 1-year-old middle-class children with fathers who spent differing amounts of time with them at home were observed in two experimental contexts separated by 2 weeks. In the first, each infant was shown six to eight repetitions of three different nonsocial stimuli followed by a change in the stimulus. In the second, each infant experienced the unannounced entrances and departures of his mother, father, and a female stranger. The infants who were the most upset when alone with the stranger came from low-father-interaction families and became bored most rapidly with nonsocial stimuli. The infants who were the least fearful with the stranger came from high-father-interaction families and displayed the greatest interest in and smiling to the inanimate stimuli. The authors argue that crying or protest to separation is a complex phenomenon influenced by discrepancy, temperament, and level of cognitive development and is not a sensitive index of the intensity of the child's emotional bond to his parent. (Author abstract modified)

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