Home Observation of Parent-Child Transaction in Failure to Thrive: A Method and Preliminary Findings

  • Mary Ann Finlon
  • Dennis Drotar
  • Jackie Satola
  • John Pallotta
  • Betsy Wyatt
  • Debra El-Amin


Beginning with early clinical descriptions, FTT has long been characterized as having its origins in deviant maternal-child relationships (Patton & Gardner, 1962). Although there is agreement among clinicians that description of parent-child interaction has significant implications for clinical intervention (see Chatoor et al.; Lieberman & Birch; Linscheid & Raskane, this volume), the clinical import of this topic has not been matched by systematic empirical studies. There are a number of reasons for this. The logistics of observing FTT infants and their parents, especially in their home setting are very difficult. In addition, formidable methodological issues are involved in the analysis and interpretation of observational data (Yarrow & Anderson, 1979). As a consequence, the parent-child relationship in FTT remains largely uncharted by objective methods. In order to explicate salient issues in the study of parent-child interaction in FTT and stimulate future research on this topic, this chapter describes a method for observation of parent-child interaction, preliminary data which links observational variables to early psychological outcome in FTT, and implications for future research.


Social Initiative Maternal Behavior Discriminant Function Analysis Avoidant Attachment Home Observation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Ann Finlon
    • 1
  • Dennis Drotar
    • 1
  • Jackie Satola
    • 1
  • John Pallotta
    • 1
  • Betsy Wyatt
    • 1
  • Debra El-Amin
    • 1
  1. 1.Case Western Reserve University School of MedicineUSA

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