Regulation of attention in full-term and premature mother-toddler dyads
Hitchcock, Donna J.
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The regulation of attention in mother-toddler play was investigated by videotaping 15 full-term, 15 low-risk premature, and 15 high-risk premature two year olds with their mothers. Attention was coded by microanalysis of videotape using an ordinal scale of "person + object" engagement. States of attention were based on visual regard, postural orientation, verbalizations, and manipulation of objects.;Time series regression with a 10 second sampling unit was employed to determine regulation of attention. Cross-tabulations were also used to analyze dyadic use of attention. Since some of the data did not fit all the statistical requirements for these analyses, it is likely that an accurate assessment of group differences was not made.;Both "low-risk" and "high-risk" premature dyads demonstrated significant regulation of attention, whereas full-terms did not show significant regulation. Specifically, risk mothers tracked toddlers' attention state, but risk toddlers did not track mothers. Despite significant group differences in presence of coordination, significant differences in magnitude of coordination among full-term, low-risk premature, and high-risk premature dyads' were not shown.;In addition, mothers in general were usually interpersonally focused, while toddlers tended to engage more in object-oriented attention. Groups did not differ in average attention state, modal level of attention or proportion of time spent in attention states.;These results suggest that mothers of premature infants compensate for early risk by tracking their toddler's attentional states.