Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Infant and Maternal Reciprocity as Expressed Through Movement, Play Participation, and Co-Occupation
Author Affiliations
  • Idaho State University
  • Idaho State University
  • Idaho State University
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Infant and Maternal Reciprocity as Expressed Through Movement, Play Participation, and Co-Occupation
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505161.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505161.

Date Presented 4/8/2016

A retrospective study exploring the bidirectionality of reciprocity in infants and mothers revealed changes occurring over 6 mo in several domains. The retrospective analysis creates a novel process of assessing development through the lens of reciprocity.

Primary Author and Speaker: Bryan Gee

Additional Authors and Speakers: Susan Kunkle, Lauren Troy

Contributing Authors: Hillary Swann, Nancy Devine, Nicholas Burgett, Nicki Aubuchon-Endsley, Michele R. Brumley, Heather Ramsdell-Hudock

RESEARCH QUESTION: What is the frequency and duration of infant–maternal reciprocity as expressed through movement, play participation, and co-occupation?
BACKGROUND: Specifically, reciprocity is the mutual engagement between infant and caregiver, involving bidirectional symmetry in actions and psychological states. Decades of research support robust reciprocal relationships between caregiver and infant behavior and outcomes. However, more research is needed to examine complex bidirectional associations between infant and caregiver engagements with regard to multiple interactive domains of infant behavior.
The purpose of this case study was to identify and track frequency and duration of infant–maternal bidirectional reciprocity-related behaviors for the categories of movement, play participation, and co-occupation via video analysis of infant–maternal interactions.
DESIGN: Descriptive retrospective analysis
PARTICIPANTS: Two mother–infant dyads from a larger sample of 20 infant–mother dyads
METHOD: Using a play lab at a rural university the United States, mothers and their infants were observed and audio and video recorded as they interacted in the lab for 1-hr sessions at the infant’s age of 8, 12, and 16 mo. Data analysis occurred across the reciprocity collaborative team (researchers and research assistants) process and included experimental psychology, clinical psychology, occupational therapy, and speech–language pathology.
ANALYSIS: Using Datavyu, the infant–maternal interactions and behaviors during the middle 20 min of the session were coded using coding schemes developed via experimental and clinical psychology and occupational therapy. Behaviors, movements, interactions, and so forth were coded, tracking duration and frequency of behaviors related to gross and fine motor, play participation, and co-occupation.
RESULTS: Across the 2 maternal–infant dyads it was discovered that as the infant matured, the frequency of his or her movement increased from a mean of 8 s to a mean of 157 s in duration per bout and a mean of 0 to a mean of 34 occasions. Furthermore, bidirectional co-occupations changed as the dyad developed from having more co-occupations related to emotionality with a mean of 8 bouts to a mean of 157 bouts and lasted a duration of 3.5 min at 8 mo and 4 min at 16 mo.
Play participation resulted in the majority of the time being sensory–motor play with a mean of 475 bouts at 8 mo and a mean of 350 bouts at 16 mo, and the average duration of each bout lasting mean of 31 s at 8 mo and a mean of 26 s at 16 mo. Outside of descriptive statistics and frequency distribution, the interaction among the data using a general linear model will also be presented.
DISCUSSION: Tracking the frequency and duration of subconstructs related to typical infant–maternal bidirectional reciprocity provides a novel representation of how movement, co- occupation, and play are represented over a small window of time. A change was noted over time as the infant gained mastery over gravity but preferred sensory motor play and emotionally to connect with his or her mother.
IMPACT STATEMENT: Identifying and comparing developmental trajectories that are observable and unobservable across several months may aid in recognizing optimum timing of assessment and intervention when applied to infants and toddlers at risk or with identified developmental disabilities.