Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Maternal Emotional Availability and Infant Pain-related Distress

Publication year
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