UMass Boston

Mother-Infant Regulation Study

The goal of this research study is to explore and understand the developmental differences in how mothers and babies regulate stress. To examine both chronic and daily stress, we use the Still-Face Paradigm, and exposure to positive or negative infant sounds to examine the effects on mother/infant interaction and play. Other measures include heart rate, respiration, skin conductance, questionnaires, and some hormones found in hair and saliva. These hormones are naturally occurring substances in the body that change with time of day and excitement level. Each study session is recorded and evaluated for infant and mother behaviors, emotions, and interactions. The information we obtain will increase our understanding  of how stress manifests itself in mother-infant interactions. This will help us better understand the specific role of stress in the development of the mother-infant relationship, the development of behavioral and physiological regulatory systems, neurological development, and differences among infants. It is our hope that this will be informative for pediatricians, early interventionists, child mental health professionals, and parenting educators. In addition, the results may assist the development of intervention programs geared towards identifying stress-vulnerable populations and providing them with stress-regulation strategies.

The Child Development Unit

University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Wheatley Hall, 3rd Floor, Suite 120
Boston, MA 02125-3393