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Infancy: Psychoanalytic Theory, Developmental Research, and the Mother–Child Dyad in the First Year of Life 

Infancy: Psychoanalytic Theory, Developmental Research, and the Mother–Child Dyad in the First Year of Life
Chapter:
Infancy: Psychoanalytic Theory, Developmental Research, and the Mother–Child Dyad in the First Year of Life
Source:
The Little Book of Child and Adolescent Development
Author(s):

Karen J. Gilmore

and Pamela Meersand

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199899227.003.0002

This chapter integrates the discoveries of current infant research with psychoanalytical theories in order to achieve a contemporary view of the baby’s mental life. It examines the complex, reciprocal influences of infant endowment, maternal mental states (her conscious and unconscious fantasies, emotional capacities, and attachment history) and the mother—child intersubjective experience on emerging self—other representations and self-regulatory processes. Relevant empiric work that explores the dyad’s modes of affective sharing is reviewed, with emphasis on the seminal contributions of attachment theory and its elaboration of maternal and child relational styles and patterns. The chronological appearance of the infant’s cognitive, motoric, communicative, and relational milestones is reviewed, along with the ensuing impact on the parent—infant relationship.

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