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The impact of a second infant on interactions of mothers and firstborn children

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We examined the patterns of mother–firstborn children interaction following the birth of a second child. We were particularly interested in the impact of the father's involvement in family activities. A total of 47 mothers with 6-month-old secondborn infants participated. Four types of mother–firstborn relationship transitions were identified, using a cluster analysis: cluster 1 (46.8%) was characterized by few changes in mother–firstborn interactions, cluster 2 (21.3%) by the firstborn's negative reactions, cluster 3 (25.5%) by an increase in scolding as well as a decrease in positive behaviour by the mother, and finally cluster 4 (6.4%) by a large increase in the firstborn's positive behaviours toward the mother. No associations were found between the classification and either the gender combination of the siblings or the firstborn's age. Frequent care of the father toward their firstborn children was found in cluster 4. These results suggest that the father's behaviour in the family may be a predictor of adaptation to the birth of a new infant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: College of Nursing, Nara Medical University, Japan

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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