The importance of caregiver-child interactions for the survival and healthy development of children : implications for intervention.
The quality of early infant-caregiver interactions determines the path of an infant's social, cognitive and emotional development. Theoretical and empirical evidence supporting this claim is reviewed, and the implications for early relationship-focussed interventions are considered. The study focuses on infants from birth to three years of age. Developmental psychology research findings are presented, and the role of risk and protective factors in planning preventative interventions are discussed. Recommendations are made for developing a centre-based relationship-enhancing early intervention program for infants and their depressed caregivers. The program is intended for implementation in a rural or periurban South African Primary Health Care setting.