To evaluate within-family differences in maternal affective behavior toward siblings, face-to-face interactions were observed between 39 mothers and their firstborn and second-born infants at 2 months of age. Mother and infant affect was coded on a 1-s time base with behavioral descriptors. Mothers were more positive with second-born infants, and second-born infants were more positive than were firstborns. The siblings' affective behaviors were unrelated, but maternal positive affect was both moderately stable between siblings and correlated with each infant's affect. Thus, in the context of stable individual differences in maternal positive affect, siblings experienced unique affective interactions with their mothers as early as 2 months.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies