This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Study Of The Infant Behaviors That Mothers And Fathers Interpret As Meaningful




Peterson, Jo

Type of Degree



Rehabilitation and Special Education


The purpose of this study was to investigate the infant behaviors that mothers and fathers interpret as meaningful, and to identify possible patterns of identification and interpretation of those behaviors. Thirteen mother-father-infant triads participated in this study. The triads were videotaped in their homes when the infant was between three and six months old. The parents were asked to watch the videotape and then (1) identify the infant behaviors they interpreted as meaningful, and (2) to describe what meaning that behavior had for them. The behaviors identified and the subsequent interpretations of those behaviors were analyzed qualitatively to identify patterns of identification and interpretation. Seven categories of behavior and six categories of interpretation were identified. With one exception, mothers and fathers identified behaviors and interpretations in all categories. Further analysis revealed that mothers identify significantly more behaviors and interpretations than do fathers.