chapter  3
32 Pages

Linking Infant Development-in-Context Research to the Investigation of Life-Span Family Development: Kurt Kreppner

During the last 15 years, results from studies dealing with mother-child and father-child interactions have fundamentally changed our knowledge about infants' needs, abilities, and social skills. In particular, meticulous observations of parent-child interactions and fine-grained analyses have deepened our knowledge about the complex interplay between caregiver and infant. In general, it has been recognized that the context in which the individual child grows up cannot be sufficiently characterized by an aggregation of ecological variables that are supposed to exert a one-directional influence on the individual. Instead, the context of the developing individual has been conceptualized as a complex ecosystem with many multidirectional influences (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Consequently, the family constituting a highly relevant relational context more and more has become an interesting topic for students of the developing child.