Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Marjorie J. Beeghly


The central goal of this study was to describe maternal, infant, and dyadic contributions to mother-infant interaction processes at 7 months postpartum; i.e., how both mother and infant contribute to the quality of the interaction, in an understudied mostly low-income, African American sample. Eighty-five mothers and their 7-month-old infants participated. Dyads were videotaped during the Still-Face Paradigm (SFP) to analyze how a social stressor (maternal still-face) affects infant reactivity and mother-infant social interaction processes. The SFP includes 3 successive 2-minute episodes: normal play (baseline), maternal still-face, during which the mother holds a neutral, expressionless face, and resumption of normal play (reunion). Multiple dimensions of maternal and infant behavior and affect were scored from the videotapes by masked reliable coders. The data were analyzed using ANCOVAs, paired-sample t-tests, hierarchical linear regression, and the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM). The still-face effect was replicated in this sample, although infant sex did not moderate the results. APIM results provided evidence for bidirectional effects in mother-infant positive affective exchanges from baseline to reunion episodes, with larger effects observed for mothers’ positive affect during baseline play to infants’ positive affect during the reunion. Findings confirm that both mothers and infants contributed to dyadic interaction processes, but mothers appear to play a larger role in dyadic positive affect exchanges at 7 months postpartum.

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