|dc.description.abstract||Throughout the world, infants and toddlers are spending less time with
mothers and more time with peers than ever before, mainly in different
kinds of day care. This changing pattern of child care may affect
the early development of social competence which is seen as important
for social, emotional and intellectual growth. It would therefore be
valuable to know in what way different aspects of social competence
are influenced by mothers and by peers.
The degree of compliance shown by infants and their ability to
co-operate in tasks and games have been found to be important indices
of social competence. This study observed 48 infants in dyadic
interaction, first with their mothers (Situation 1) and then with a
familiar peer (Situation 2), as they engaged in a co-operative game.
The aim was to assess differences, similarities and possible continuities
between the mother-infant and peer systems in children of four age
groups (AGs) : AG1 - 37 to 61 weeks7 AG2 - 62 to 86 weekS7 AG3-
87 to 111 weeks7 AG4 - 112 to 136 weeks. Recording was by videotape.
Analysis involved the coding of 56 behaviours in three broad areas :
mothers' teaching behaviours, children's behaviours with mothers, and
peer behaviours. The group was composed of singletons (N=34) and
twins (N=14). Singletons were observed over all four age groups,
twins over AG1 and AG2 only, and sexes were analysed separately over
AG3 and AG4. Behaviours were also compared over both Situations.
Reliability was calculated in three ways, giving means of intra- and
inter-observer agreement of .92, .82 and .87.
Meaningful groups of behaviours were analysed with two-tailed tests
of significance. Univariate analysis with multiple independent
variables were used for singletons' behaviours over all age groups.
Behaviours showing significant differences were analysed for trend
and for differences between age groups. Manovas were used for all
other comparisons. Correlations were examined between selected
Differences in mothers' teaching strategies over the age groups were
found. Two behaviours which did not show age-related or situation-
related differences are discussed, as well as different reactions to
these behaviours by mothers and peers.
Findings from research with singletons were comfirmed.
Differences were found between the behaviours of mothers of singletons
and mothers of twins, which suggest that the mothers of twins are not
as skilled as mothers of singletons in playing with one child in a
dyadic situation. Findings by Savic (1980) are confirmed that twins
find the peer situation less stimulating than singletons do, and that
twins are more advanced than singletons are in social competence.
Sex differences were found suggesting that boys are involved in more
active experiences, whereas girls are associated with more passive ones.
Analysis of sequences of behaviours suggested that this method was
more suitable than analysis of discrete interactions for the observation
of complex behaviours such as engagement. It also showed that game-playing
did not have the same characteristics in the mother-infant and
the peer situations, and comparisons with other research findings are
No indication was found that the skills taught by mothers were carried
over entirely without modification to the peer situation, but other
suggestions of possible continuities are discussed.
Children's game-playing behaviours were found to be extensions of their
own creativity as apparently elicited by experience with peers. The
effect on this creativity of the existence and the quality of peer
friendships is discussed.||en