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Patterns of Inhibition to the Unfamiliar in Children of Normal and Affectively Ill Mothers

Grazyna Kochanska
Child Development
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 250-263
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131001
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131001
Page Count: 14
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Patterns of Inhibition to the Unfamiliar in Children of Normal and Affectively Ill Mothers
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Abstract

Patterns of 2-3½-year-old children's inhibition and their well and depressed mothers' behaviors in nonsocial and social unfamiliar situations were examined in 88 dyads. Type of unfamiliarity was associated with 2 forms of children's inhibition. 4 more specific patterns were identified: in the nonsocial situation, Inhibition to New Environment with Proximity to Mother; in the social situation, Retreat to Mother, Passivity/Withdrawal from a Stranger, and Wary/Timid Response. The unipolar depressed mothers, particularly those who were recently symptomatic and had a history of the most serious illness, had children who were most inhibited. Serious affective impairment was also associated with the least maternal facilitation of the children's approach to the unfamiliar. Boys were more inhibited to a new environment and girls were more inhibited to a new person. Relations between child inhibition and maternal behaviors suggested that for toddlers and their mothers, encounters with the unfamiliar are interactive events.

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