Touching behaviors of failure-to-thrive versus thriving maternal-infant dyads
MetadataShow full item record
This research study was conducted to determine the frequency and location of touching behaviors between mothers and infants. The failure-to-thrive mother-infant dyad was observed and compared to the thriving mother-infant unit to determine if touching patterns differ between these two groups. The purpose of this study was to: (1) observe the nonnecessary touch behaviors of the failure-to-thrive maternal-infant couple, (2) observe the nonnecessary touch behaviors of thriving maternal-infant dyads, and (3) compare the frequency, location and type of nonnecessary touch that occurs between the two groups of mothers and infants. Nonnecessary touch between mothers and infants was the focus of observation for this study. Nonnecessary touch was defined as the physical contact between mother and infant that is not required to maintain the infant’s physical status such as diapering, feeding, and bathing. The population for the failure-to-thrive group of the study was twenty mother-infant pairs attending a nutrition of child health clinic. The infants were diagnosed as failure-to-thrive, and were under one year of age. The control group was comprised of twenty mother-infant pairs that attended a child health clinic. The infants of the control group had no growth abnormalities, and were also under one year of age. The research instrument was a tool designed and pilot tested for this study by the investigator. The observation tool lists the parts of the infant’s body on one axis, and the parts of the mother’s body used to touch on the other axis. As touch behaviors occurred between mothers and infants during a combined discussion-observation clinic session, the investigator indicated the type and location of the touch on the observation tool. The information obtained from carrying out this study has revealed that: (1) the failure-to-thrive group touched less frequently, (2) touched their infants on parts of the infant’s bodies that reflected some reservation and unfamiliarity, (3) but these infants were touched with very intimate parts of the mother's bodies. The mothers of the failure-to-thrive infants used rubs and strokes most frequently where the mothers of thriving infants used primarily stationary touch and pats for touching communication. This study has provided descriptive information of the touching behaviors occurring between mothers with thriving and nonthriving infants for comparison and stimulation for further study.