THE MUTUAL INFLUENCE OF INTERPERSONAL FOCUS BETWEEN PARENTS AND TODDLERS
MANN, MORRIS N.
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This study investigated the mutual influence between mother-toddler and father-toddler dyads during a free play session, using microanalytic methods developed for the study of mother-infant pairs. The research design follows in the spirit of the work of M. Yogman (1981) who expanded the use of a microanalytic methodology to include analyses of father-infant interaction.;All toddler children in the twelve families included in the sample are first born females. Ten minutes of mother-daughter and father-daughter free play sessions were analyzed on a second-by-second basis using a scale of exclusivity of interpersonal focus. The scale was ordinalized as follows: exclusively interpersonal; attention shared between person and object; exclusively object focused; exclusively self focused; and other. A time-series regression analysis examined whether either parent or toddler significantly influenced the other.;The primary finding of this study is that, over the whole sample, mothers show significant mutual influence in interactions with their toddler daughters, and fathers show one-way influence--with fathers influenced by daughters but not vice versa. Influence refers to each partner's influencing the other's change in exclusivity of interpersonal focus.;However, a breakdown of the sample into families of working vs. non-working mothers reveals that the daughters of fathers in families with working mothers were influenced by their father's engagement. Thus, this subset of father-daughter pairs demonstrated mutual influence similar to the mother-daughter pairs.