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Journal of Human Growth and Development

versão impressa ISSN 0104-1282versão On-line ISSN 2175-3598


MOURA, Gabriella Garcia; SOUZA, Gisele Mathias de  e  AMORIM, Kátia de Souza. Infants' peer interaction in institutional foster care service. J. Hum. Growth Dev. [online]. 2020, vol.30, n.1, pp. 9-23. ISSN 0104-1282.

INTRODUCTION: Based on the perspective of children's intersubjectivity, it is understood that infants are able to interact with infants from a very early age. These interactions can offer important constitutive experiences for themOBJECTIVE: It was investigated how interactions between infants-infants/toddlers in institutional foster care occur, describing: the frequency of these interactions; the emotional-communicative resources involved; partners' responsiveness; and the environmental organizationMETHODS: A qualitative, descriptive, and exploratory case study was conducted. Participants were focal baby (aged between 10 and 13 months) and their interactive peers (4 to 17 months) in institutional care. We used weekly video recordings for three months in the naturalistic context. The categories "attention orientation", "search/maintenance of proximity", "social exchanges", and "responsiveness" were quantified and compared with the interaction between infant and caregiver. Interactive episodes were also thoroughly describedRESULTS: Cribs, strollers, gates, and grids, with few toys available, marked the organization of the physical-social space. It was observed that the infants spent most of their time in individual activities (alone); and their social behaviors were more often directed to caregivers The interactions between infants/toddlers were less frequent, although it was with the peers that social exchanges, joint activities, and co-regulated interactions occurred the most (with reciprocity and sharing). Peer responsiveness also involved empathic and pro-social behaviors (with experiences of interpersonal engagement), where attentional, emotional, and motivational processes operated.CONCLUSION: Peers interactions between infants/toddlers in institutional care were infrequent. However, when it occurred, the children showed sensitivity and responsiveness to their peers' emotional-communicative expressions. The organization of the institutional environment proved to be a relevant constraint of peer interactions: due to the material/spatial arrangement that made contact between children difficult; and by the absence of the adult as a promoter of these interactions. Finally, we call attention to the need for further investigations about interactive indicators of infants in institutional care

Palavras-chave : infants; child foster; social interaction; peer interaction.

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