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The aim of this study is to compare the interaction of fathers and mothers with their 10-12 months old infants (n=97; parental sensitivity and mood, and infant mood) during five structured contiguous play segments, and to examine the utility of individual growth modeling. Conventional comparison of means across play-segments showed that parents were equally responsive, but mothers were happier than fathers, and infants were equally happy during interaction with both parents. Sensitivity and mood were more strongly related for mothers than for fathers. Uni- and multivariate growth models revealed fine-grained patterns not seen in conventional analysis: (a) parental and infant mood decreased across play more for mothers than for fathers, (b) parental sensitivity in one play-segment predicted parental mood and infant mood in the next segment, (c) change in infants' mood was related to change in sensitivity in mothers, and to change in mood in fathers, and (d) mothers' sensitive interaction with the infant was predicted by family socio-demographic background.

Original publication




Journal article


Infant Behav Dev

Publication Date





615 - 630


Adult, Affect, Fathers, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant Behavior, Male, Mothers, Parent-Child Relations, Parenting, Psychology, Child