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Análise Psicológica

Print version ISSN 0870-8231


FUERTES, Marina; BEEGHLY, Marjorie; SANTOS, Pedro Lopes dos  and  TRONICK, Edward. Predictors of infant positive, negative and self-direct coping during face to face still-face in a Portuguese preterm sample. Aná. Psicológica [online]. 2011, vol.29, n.4, pp.553-565. ISSN 0870-8231.

Past studies found three types of infant coping behaviour during Face-to-Face Still-Face paradigm (FFSF): a Positive Other-Directed Coping; a Negative Other-Directed Coping and a Self-Directed Coping. In the present study, we investigated whether those types of coping styles are predicted by: infants’ physiological responses; maternal representations of their infant’s temperament; maternal interactive behaviour in free play; and infant birth and medical status. The sample consisted of 46, healthy, prematurely born infants and their mothers. At one month, infant heart rate was collected in basal. At three months old (corrected age), infant heart-rate was registered during FFSF episodes. Mothers described their infants’ temperament using a validated Portuguese temperament scale, at infants three months of corrected age. As well, maternal interactive behaviour was evaluated during a free play situation using CARE-Index. Our findings indicate that positive coping behaviours were correlated with gestational birth weight, heart rate (HR), gestational age, and maternal sensitivity in free play. Gestational age and maternal sensitivity predicted Positive Other-Direct Coping behaviours. Moreover, Positive Other-Direct coping was negatively correlated with HR during Still-Face Episode. Self-directed behaviours were correlated with HR during Still-Face Episode and Recover Episode and with maternal controlling/intrusive behaviour. However, only maternal behaviour predicted Self-direct coping. Early social responses seem to be affected by infants’ birth status and by maternal interactive behaviour. Therefore, internal and external factors together contribute to infant ability to cope and to re-engage after stressful social events.

Keywords : Infant coping; Infant physiology; Maternal behaviour.

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