Maternal sensitivity and responsiveness: A conceptual framework with empirical evidence

Susan H. Landry, Karen E. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


Sensitive and responsive parenting across infancy and early childhood is highlighted in several theoretical frameworks. This chapter will describe empirical support for a range of affective-emotional and cognitively supportive behaviors as part of a broad responsiveness construct. The findings from random assignment parent responsiveness interventions provide some of the strongest evidence for a causal relation between this form of parenting and children's social and cognitive development. The evidence that comes from experimental studies will be discussed in terms of its support for the ability of highly targeted programs to facilitate mothers' efforts to increase their use of responsiveness behaviors with both children born term and those born preterm and the effect of that increase on the children's outcomes. Finally, a discussion of the interpersonal and social factors that have been identified in correlational and experimental research as either interfering with or supporting mother's use of sensitive and responsive behaviors with their young children will be included along with potential next steps in this important research area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaternal Sensitivity
Subtitle of host publicationA Scientific Foundation for Practice
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781611227284
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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