Rural Low-Income Mothers' Interactions with their Young Children

Horodynski, Mildred A.; Gibbons, Cynthia
July 2004
Pediatric Nursing;Jul/Aug2004, Vol. 30 Issue 4, p299
Academic Journal
Quality mother-child interaction is imperative for normal child growth and development. Early intervention programs may support mother-child interaction, particularly at-risk mother-child dyads. The purpose of this study was to describe mother-child dyadic interaction as they entered and exited a rural Early Head Start (EHS) program and compare their interaction with a formed national sample. Thirty mothers and their children participated in the study and agreed to allow trained data collectors to observe an in-home teaching situation using the Nursing Child Assessment Satellite Training (NCAST) Teaching Scale. At exit from the program, although no significant differences in mother-child interactions were found, more than half of the mothers maintained or improved their ability to read cues and respond to their child. However, over 40% f the mothers remained at risk for poor interaction. Differences in program outcomes may be a result of family participation and involvement levels. Poor maternal health may also adversely affect mother-child interaction. Program implications include resource allocation for those mothers with the greatest "worry" scores. Nurses and other professionals working with mothers and children need to be vigilant in their ongoing assessment of the mother's health and possible influence on the quality of the mother-child interaction.


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