Infant patterns of reactivity to tactile stimulation during parent-child interaction

Micah A. Mammen, Ginger A. Moore, Laura V. Scaramella, David Reiss, Daniel S. Shaw, Leslie D. Leve, Jenae M. Neiderhiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Infant patterns of reactivity to tactile stimulation during parent-child interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this