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Infants, Mothers, Families, and Strangers

  • Ross A. Thompson
  • Michael E. Lamb
Part of the Genesis of Behavior book series (GOBE, volume 4)

Abstract

Developmental theorists have long viewed the infant-mother relationship as a crucial determinant of early socioemotional development (e.g., Ainsworth, 1967, 1973; Bowlby, 1969; Erikson, 1963; Freud, 1938; Maccoby and Masters, 1970; Sears, Maccoby, and Levin, 1957). Mother-infant interactions comprise a major part of the average infant’s everyday experiences, and they occur in contexts that are likely to be especially important to the baby, such as feeding, the relief of distress, and play. Thus it seems likely that the infant-mother relationship would have a greater direct influence on infants than other early relationships, at least in traditional families. This does not mean, however, that the infant-mother relationship is exclusively important. Other partners also provide valuable experiences, ranging from the physically arousing stimulation provided by fathers (Lamb, 1977, 1981b) to the give-and-take interactions provided by peers (Lewis, Young, Brooks, and Michalson, 1975; Mueller and Vandell, 1979). Furthermore, events outside the mother-infant dyad-like the father’s presence (Lamb, 1979) or supportiveness (Pedersen, 1981)-affect the quality of the interactions shared by infant and mother. For these reasons, it is unwise to view the infant-mother relationship without considering the broader socioemotional context within which their interactions occur (Lewis and Rosenblum, 1978).

Keywords

Child Development Attachment Relationship Family Event Attachment Status Family Circumstance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross A. Thompson
    • 1
  • Michael E. Lamb
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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