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Maternal Emotional Availability and Infant Pain-related Distress

Publication year
2008
Author(s)
Din, L.; Pillai Riddell, R.; Gordner, S.

OBJECTIVES: The current study investigated the relationships between maternal emotional availability and infant pain expressions. METHODS: A group of 73 mother-infant dyads were recruited prior to their routine immunization appointment and were subsequently filmed. RESULTS: Analyses revealed that maternal nonintrusiveness was related to lower infant pain expressions both immediately and 1 min following needle. In addition, maternal sensitivity and overall emotional availability were related to lower infant pain expressions 1 min after needle. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that intrusive caregiving behaviors can increase infant pain reactivity and hinder the regulation of pain-related distress. On the other hand, sensitive and emotionally available caregiving help infants to regulate their pain-related distress. The results support that infant pain expressions are related to the quality of maternal caregiving.

Research abstracts