Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Paul Mountjoy

Second Advisor

Dr. Galen Alessi

Third Advisor

Dr. Michele Burnette

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The relationship between mothers' perceptions of their infant's distress and choice of soothing strategies was explored. Thirteen mother-infant pairs were videotaped during a routine well-baby fourteen or eighteen months immunization visit. Dependent measures included (a) type and duration of infant emotional states, (b) type and duration of maternal soothing strategies (i.e., responsiveness to infant emotional cues) and (c) maternal cognitions surrounding their choices.

Results showed that mothers were poor at identifying the majority of soothing strategies they employed. In addition, some mothers continued to implement a strategy they identified as being neutral or worsening in its effectiveness. Descriptive analyses showed passive non-responding to be most effective strategy prior to the immunization while a combination of social reassurance and sensory intervention proved to be the most effective strategy after the immunization.

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