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Mother-Infant Interaction: Achieving Synchrony

Leitch, Deborah B.


Background: Interventions that promote positive mother-infant interactions may reduce the risk of poor developmental outcomes for the child.

Objective: To examine the effect of infant communication education presented prenatally to first-time mothers on the quality of interaction that occurs between the mother-infant dyad in the first 24 hours following birth.

Method: Twenty-nine first-time mothers were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control group. The intervention group received education on infant behaviors, states, and communication cues. A specific mother-infant interaction was videotaped and scored using the Nursing Child Assessment Teaching Scale (NCATS). The scores between groups were compared to determine the effect of education on the interaction that occurred between the dyads.

Results: Significant intervention effect was found in the overall totals (t(27)=1.69; p=.05) as well as the contingency scores related to sensitivity to cues (t(27)= 1.93; p = .05) and social-emotional growth-fostering behaviors (t(27)= 1.93; p = .05).

Conclusion: A videotaped educational intervention on infant communication implemented prenatally resulted in significant differences between the intervention and control groups on NCATS scores (totals, sensitivity to cues, and social-emotional growth-fostering behaviors). The use of videotaped educational information facilitates very early mother-infant interaction.

Deborah B. Leitch is the Nursing Manager of Pediatrics, Special Care Nursery, and LDRP Unit; Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, Alberta, Canada.

Accepted for publication February 19, 1998

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.