Date of Award:

1-1-1998

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Lori A. Roggman

Abstract

Benefits of attachment security have been demonstrated in the realm of socioemotional development. Studies have investigated some of the antecedents associated with the development of secure attachments. This study looked uniquely at the impact of touch, and more specifically, infant massage, on the development of attachment security in infants

Fifty-seven mother-infant dyads were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. Infants were less than 8 months of age at the time of recruitment. The treatment group received training in infant massage as well as education about infant development. The control group received similar education about infant development. Mothers completed a set of questionnaires prior to the intervention and when their infants were 12 months old. In addition, attachment security was assessed using the Attachment Q-set at the 12-month followup.

Comparisons indicated that mothers who massaged their 12-month-old infants more than one time per week had infants who were statistically significantly more securely attached than infants of mothers who massaged their infants less than once per week, and were more securely attached than infants in the control group. Underlying mechanisms of change were not detected through the questionnaires used in this study.

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