Patterns of emotional availability among young mothers and their infants: A dydaic, contextual analysis.Infant Ment Health J. 2005 Jul; 26(4):309-326.IM
The aim of this study was to examine patterns of emotional availability among 80 young mothers (under 21 years at their child's birth) and their infants, and to identify contextual and individual factors associated with different patterns of emotional availability. To operationalize the dyadic aspect of emotional availability, cluster analysis of the Emotional Availability Scales, third edition (EAS; Biringen, Robinson, & Emde, 1998) was conducted on mother and infant scales simultaneously. Four distinct groups of emotional availability patterns emerged, reflecting synchrony and asynchrony between maternal and child behavior: (a) low-functioning dyads, (b) average dyads, (c) average parenting/disengaged infants, and (d) high-functioning dyads. Further analyses revealed that mothers in different clusters differed on outcomes such as depressive symptomatology, social support, and relationships with their own mothers. The clusters and the variables related to them demonstrate the various challenges in integrating the dual tasks of adolescent and parenting development among young mothers. The clinical implications of these patterns of emotional availability and live context are discussed.