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Emergence of parental prohibition in response to self -produced locomotion and its accompanying emotional changes

Rebecca R Hendrix, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The impact of self-produced locomotion on physical and social environments, affect, discipline, and compliance was examined. Forty, 6-month-old, prelocomotor infants and their mothers were initially contacted. At age 8-months, locomotors (13 males, 7 females) could move forward 3 feet in under 30 seconds unassisted. Prelocomotors (13 males, 7 females) were matched by age and sex with the locomotors. At both occasions, parents were interviewed about their children's physical abilities, social interactions, and emergent discipline and filled out the Infant Behavior Questionnaire (IBQ). An observation of the parent-child dyad in an office also occurred during the second contact. Compared to prelocomotors, interview reports revealed environmental changes over time in that locomotors spent more time playing on the floor, had a wider interest in toys, and were subject to increased child-proofing in their homes. Moreover, locomotors displayed greater affection toward mothers than prelocomotors at both contacts. Separation distress peaked for all children as they neared the transition to locomotion but locomotors were more likely to maintain physical contact with their caregivers. Observed affect revealed no differences among groups but interviews indicated all children displayed more emotions, especially negative ones, over time. Boys reportedly showed more emotions than girls, most noticeably other-oriented emotions. IBQ scales revealed that distress to limitations increased over time for all children while soothability decreased for locomotors and increased for prelocomotors. Positive correlations between time one and time two interview questions revealed consistency in individuals' affect over time as did IBQ scales. Within the observation, reactive discipline was more often used with locomotors, especially the use of “no,” but no group differences existed for proactive discipline measures. Furthermore, maternal reports indicated increased use of prohibition with their locomotors including verbal prohibitions, facial expressions, physical restraint, removal of objects, and distractions with alternate objects. Observations of compliance were inconclusive. Changes in the examined variables coincided with the onset of locomotion but it appears that not all changes resulted from this transition. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Hendrix, Rebecca R, "Emergence of parental prohibition in response to self -produced locomotion and its accompanying emotional changes" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3147141.