Touch is the primary modality infants use to engage with the world; atypical responses to tactile stimuli may indicate risk for disordered outcomes. The current study examined infants' responses to tactile stimulation within parent-child interaction, adding to prior knowledge based on parent report. Nine-month-old infants (N = 497) were observed while parents painted and pressed infants' hands and feet to paper to make designs. Positive and negative affect and gazing away, exploring, and resistance behaviors were coded. Latent Class Analysis of observed behaviors yielded four tactile response patterns partially consistent with current nosology for sensory processing patterns: Low Reactive, Sensory Overreactive, Sensory Seeking, and Mixed Over/Underreactive. To evaluate whether patterns made valid distinctions among infants, latent classes were examined in relation to parent-reported temperament. Infants in the Mixed Over/Underreactive class were rated higher in distress to limitations and activity level than other infants. Sensory processing patterns observed in parent-child interaction are consistent with those identified by parent-report and may be used in future research to elucidate relations with temperament and typical and atypical development.
- Parent-child interaction
- Sensory processing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology