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Mother- and Father-Infant Play: A Developmental Analysis

Thomas G. Power
Child Development
Vol. 56, No. 6 (Dec., 1985), pp. 1514-1524
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130470
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130470
Page Count: 11
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Mother- and Father-Infant Play: A Developmental Analysis
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Abstract

Mothers and fathers of 4 boys and 4 girls at each of 3 ages (7, 10, and 13 months) were videotaped during toy play interactions with their infants. Videotapes were coded for the predominant kinds of parent-infant play, and for individual differences in play style. Both the content and style of play varied with infant age: parents of older infants were more likely to encourage pretend, turn-taking, and relational behavior and less likely to direct infant attention. Moreover, parents of older infants were more likely to use verbal techniques alone and less likely to physically perform behaviors for their child. Mothers were more responsive than fathers to infant cues of interest and attention and, at 13 months, were more successful in influencing infant behavior. With increasing infant age, mothers of girls were more directive of their infant's play, whereas mothers of boys were less directive.

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