Date of Award

Fall 1996

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Fox, Robert

Second Advisor

Pridham, Karen

Third Advisor

Taft, Thomas B.


As a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, I have worked with new mothers and their infants for twenty years. My doctoral work in Counseling Psychology has stimulated new ways of thinking about the socioemotional development of the infant and the importance of the maternal-infant relationship for the personality and mental health of the individual. Understanding the characteristics of the mothers which lead to optimal outcomes for their infants is the topic of recent research. My nursing practice in a Newborn Intensive Care Unit caused me to wonder about the effects of the NICU environment on the attachment behavioral system. Tools with adequate reliability and validity have been developed to study the maternal-infant relationship in the first few years of life. However, these tools have not been used in the NICU. This study was designed to capture the maternal-infant relationship as it developed in the NICU. A global rating scale of maternal behavior and affect was used. For the sake of comparison of measurement methods, a nurses rating scale and a behavioral coding method were also used.



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