A failure-to-thrive infant at play: Applications of microanalysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Microanalysis of mother-infant interactions may be used to illuminate behavioral deviations in clinical syndromes. A 3-month-old failure-to-thrive infant was videotaped while playing with his mother and with a female stranger. Videotapes were analyzed for a variety of maternal and infant behaviors on a second-by-second basis. Scores for this dyad were then compared with scores for a group of 19 other babies who did not show the failure-to-thrive syndrome. Results show that the mother of this baby used extremely high levels of stimulation in a variety of sensory modalities but showed little positive affect. By contrast, in playing with this baby the stranger tended to use lower levels of stimulation in the areas of position vis-a-vis the baby and touch. It is suggested that the mother's intrusive over-stimulation, perhaps coupled with deficits on the part of the infant, resulted in serious interactional asynchrony. The infant's failure to develop normally might thus reflect the absence of a happy reciprocal exchange between mother and infant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1982


Dive into the research topics of 'A failure-to-thrive infant at play: Applications of microanalysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this