Review of “Parent-Child Interactions and Development of Toddlers Born Preterm” by Magill-Evans and Harrison (1999)
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Harrison and Magill-Evans (1999) sought to determine whether an infant’s interactions with his mother and father during the first year mattered more than the fact that a child was born preterm or full-term when it came to early childhood development. Researchers have reported diminished interactive behavior for preterm infants (Banard, Bee, & Hammond, 1984) and less responsive interactions in parent-preterm infant dyads than in parent full-term infant dyads (Harrison & Magill-Evans, 1996). As Harrison and Magill-Evans (1999) suggest, many factors influence the parent’s interactive skills including the parent’s stresses and resources. Therefore, Harrison and Magill-Evans hypothesized that the child-environment transactions, as evidenced in both mother-infant and father-infant interactions in combination with parenting stress, would be significant predictors of the child’s cognitive and language development.
The goal of this study was to use multiple tests that would eliminate confounding variables, but still find significant support for increase in the cognitive ability of the child through parent-child interaction. Using a longitudinal study with multiple tests, Harrison and Magill-Evans (1999) propose that if parent-infant interaction is a key factor in early childhood development then there will be a strong positive correlation between positive parent-child interactions and the toddler’s intelligence.
To gather more insight toward their hypothesis, Harrison and Magill-Evans (1999) paired pre-term infants with full-term infants based on gender, expected due date, and hospital of birth; the final sample included 49 preterm and 54 full-term children. This, in relation to fathers’ scores, mothers’ sco...
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