Little work assesses infant capacity for bi-directional, contingent communication at birth, and none to our knowledge with preterm infants in the neonatal period. Presence vs. absence of such interactive contingency makes a difference for our theories of development. We examined whether preterm infants can contingently coordinate behaviors with mothers and fathers in spontaneous communication in the NICU, and whether mother-infant vs. father-infant engagement and contingency differ. Twenty Italian preterm infants (60% girls, born 27-33 weeks, largely middle-class families) lying in a heated cot in the NICU were videotaped at 35 weeks with mothers, and fathers (counterbalanced), in face-to-face communication. Videotapes were coded on a 1s time-base with parent and infant engagement scales. Multi-level time-series models evaluated self-contingency (auto-correlation) and interactive contingency (lagged cross-correlation). Mothers (vs. fathers) showed higher levels of engagement, interpreted as more arousing. Fathers (vs. mothers) showed more midrange engagement, interpreted as less “demanding” of infant engagement. Infants were more gaze-on-parent’s-face and gaze-on-environment with mothers than fathers. Fathers interacted contingently with infants, whereas mothers did not. However, infants interacted contingently with mothers, but not fathers. When infants were in lower engagement levels 1s prior, fathers stayed in lower engagement levels in the current second, closer to infants than mothers. We suggest that fathers were more coordinated because fathers were more able to join the infant’s dampened state. We suggest that infants were more coordinated with mothers because mothers were more socially stimulating, and more familiar. We conclude that preterm infants, shortly after birth, are capable of contingent communication.

Preterm infants contingent communication in the NICU with mothers vs. fathers

Lavelli M.;
2022

Abstract

Little work assesses infant capacity for bi-directional, contingent communication at birth, and none to our knowledge with preterm infants in the neonatal period. Presence vs. absence of such interactive contingency makes a difference for our theories of development. We examined whether preterm infants can contingently coordinate behaviors with mothers and fathers in spontaneous communication in the NICU, and whether mother-infant vs. father-infant engagement and contingency differ. Twenty Italian preterm infants (60% girls, born 27-33 weeks, largely middle-class families) lying in a heated cot in the NICU were videotaped at 35 weeks with mothers, and fathers (counterbalanced), in face-to-face communication. Videotapes were coded on a 1s time-base with parent and infant engagement scales. Multi-level time-series models evaluated self-contingency (auto-correlation) and interactive contingency (lagged cross-correlation). Mothers (vs. fathers) showed higher levels of engagement, interpreted as more arousing. Fathers (vs. mothers) showed more midrange engagement, interpreted as less “demanding” of infant engagement. Infants were more gaze-on-parent’s-face and gaze-on-environment with mothers than fathers. Fathers interacted contingently with infants, whereas mothers did not. However, infants interacted contingently with mothers, but not fathers. When infants were in lower engagement levels 1s prior, fathers stayed in lower engagement levels in the current second, closer to infants than mothers. We suggest that fathers were more coordinated because fathers were more able to join the infant’s dampened state. We suggest that infants were more coordinated with mothers because mothers were more socially stimulating, and more familiar. We conclude that preterm infants, shortly after birth, are capable of contingent communication.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1050900
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