Is There Social Life beyond the Dyad?

A Social-Psychological View of Social Connections in Infancy
  • Saul Feinman
  • Michael Lewis
Part of the Genesis of Behavior book series (GOBE, volume 4)


The study of infants’ social relations has focused primarily on dyadic interaction. Early research concentrated on the mother—infant and the stranger—infant dyads. During the past decade, the view of infants’ social network has expanded to include relationships with fathers, infant peers, substitute caregivers, siblings, and grandparents. There has been increasing concern in the last few years about extradyadic social forces, as evidenced by research on second-order and indirect effects, and by consideration of the infant as a member of a family system (Belsky, 1981; Lewis & Rosenblum, 1979; Lewis & Weinraub, 1976; Pedersen, Anderson, & Cain, 1980). Nevertheless, in comparison with research on social relations in adults and older children, the study of infant sociability remains dominated by a dyadic focus. This chapter considers the various ways in which social connections beyond the dyad affect the infant.


Child Development Social Comparison Coalition Formation American Sociological Review Maternal Employment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saul Feinman
    • 1
  • Michael Lewis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsRutgers Medical School—University of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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