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The effect of maternal soothing to infant inoculation as well as everyday distress on infant cortisol and behavioral responses to stress was examined in two longitudinal samples of 55 and 74 infants, respectively, between 2 and 6 months of age. There was no evidence that maternal soothing was effective in reducing infants' cortisol or behavioral responses to stress. The absence of this relation occurred despite evidence for cross-time stability and cross-situation consistency in maternal soothing. That maternal soothing plays little role in lowering infant responses to stress leaves open the possibilities that other maternal behaviors may mediate children's distress or that infant temperament may be related to infant stress.
Child Development © 1999 Society for Research in Child Development