MOVEMENT PATTERNS OF INFANT AND MOTHER AND THE ONTOGENESIS OF AGGRESSION
SOSSIN, KENNETH MARK
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This study examines infant and maternal aggression conceptualized in terms of developmental aspects of movement patterns and operationalized using the Kestenberg Movement Profile (KMP). This approach to the developmental study of aggression is delineated and related to the literature. Infants were filmed (super-8mm) at 6 and 12 months of age; mothers were filmed when their infants were 6 months old. Specific classes of movement patterns (KMP System 1) were used to examine aggression, defined in terms of discernible movement qualities which show active resistance to the flow of tension, space, weight and/or time. Fourteen modalities of aggression were distinguished, clustered into 4 metapsychologically distinct types of aggression: drive, affect, defensive and adaptive types, and additionally clustered as a total aggregate.;The first systematic examination of interrater reliability of the KMP was incorporated into this study, demonstrating an overall intraclass reliability correlation of .73 between the profiles of 2 notators. Across aggression-relevant data, intraclass-reliability was .75. Methodological factors influencing reliability are discussed.;Two separate measures of aggression, "absolute" and "proportional" (the latter a ratio between polar aggressive and indulgent patterns), were found to show different relationships among variables. Results showed that per infant, preferences in the aggregate measure and in drive aggression (but not other types) appeared consistent from 6 to 12 months. At 6 months, mother and infant showed similarity in their preferences by these same measures of aggression. Group analyses of infants found that certain aggressive types and modalities demonstrated longitudinal consistency while some showed divergence.;In general, 6-month-olds showed more drive aggression than 12-month-olds (as in more "phallic-sadistic rhythms"). When measured proportionally, the 6-month-olds showed more of the affect aggressive modalities of "abruptness" and "suddenness" but less of the defensive modality of "channeling" than 12-month-olds. At 6 months, differences in the aggressive patterning of infant and mother were apparent; e.g. infants demonstrated more drive aggression, and mothers appeared to hold their tension on a more even keel. Moreover, differences in aggressive patterning between infant and mother at 6 months were related to the degree to which certain aggressive types and modalities were shown by the infant at 12 months.;Results underscore the importance of systematically defining observational criteria applied in developmental studies of aggression. Discussion is lent to the complexity of the aggression construct, the interconnection of psychological and motoric development in infancy, and the relationship between infant and maternal aggressive patterning.
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