Maternal regulation of infant reactivity from 2 to 6 months

Laudan B. Jahromi, Samuel P. Putnam, Cynthia A. Stifter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Previous research has investigated the effect of maternal soothing behaviors on reducing infant reactivity but not the differential effects of specific maternal behaviors on infant stress responses. The present study investigated maternal regulation of 2- and 6-month-olds' responses to an inoculation and found a significant decline with age in both the intensity and duration of infants' crying. Maternal affection and touching decreased from 2 to 6 months, whereas maternal vocalizing and distraction behaviors increased. At both ages, the combination of maternal holding/rocking and vocalizing was associated with decreases in all levels of infant reactivity. Neither strategy alone, however, was found to be effective. Feeding/pacifying behaviors were effective only when initial distress was at a low or moderate level, which suggests that the effectiveness of maternal regulatory behaviors may depend on the intensity of infants' crying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-487
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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