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Infant Affect and Home Environment

Tom Luster, Robert Boger and Kristi Hannan
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 55, No. 3 (Aug., 1993), pp. 651-661
DOI: 10.2307/353346
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353346
Page Count: 11
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Infant Affect and Home Environment
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Abstract

This paper concerns the relation between infant affect and quality of the home environment. We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to test the hypothesis that infant irritability is most likely to be negatively correlated with the quality of the home environment in families which would be considered to be "at risk" based on characteristics of the mother (e.g., low self-esteem or low maternal intelligence) or contextual characteristics (e.g., living in poverty or having several other children to care for). Our second hypothesis is that positive affect on the part of the infant is more strongly related to the quality of care the infant receives in high-risk environments than in low-risk environments. In other words, a cheerful disposition may be a protective factor in high-risk environments. Little support was found for the first hypothesis. Infant irritability was negatively correlated with the quality of the home environment in both high-risk and low-risk families. Support was found for the second hypothesis among infants who were greater than 12 months of age.

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