Characteristics that help mothers maintain their infants' focus of attention

Karen E. Smith, Susan H. Landry, Cynthia L. Miller-Loncar, Paul R. Swank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Disadvantaged mothers' use of interactive strategies which maintained their infants' focus of attention were examined at 6, 12, and 24 months to evaluate for patterns in this interactive strategy and determine if patterns could be predicted from early infant and maternal characteristics. Four distinct clusters were identified with mothers in each cluster increasing in their use of maintaining over time but differing in the age at which the increase occurred. While infants' biologic risk was unrelated to cluster membership, more positive scores on mothers' perceptions of child rearing history, child rearing attitudes, self-esteem, and social support when the infants were 6 months old were reported by mothers who displayed a pattern of high levels and steady increase in maintaining. More negative scores on these characteristics were reported by mothers who displayed low levels of maintaining and delays in increasing this interactive strategy. Results are discussed in light of disadvantaged mothers' ability to adapt to their infants' changing needs and early identification of mothers' who may have greater difficulty in the adaptational process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-601
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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