Maternal-Infant Interaction in Infants with Colic

Lynne M. Andreozzi, University of Rhode Island


The experience of having an infant with colic may affect early interactions between the mother and infant. The present study investigated infant-mother interaction in infants with colic, excessive crying, and non-colic controls and their mothers. The Colic Symptom Checklist was used to identify infants between 4-6 weeks of age with colic (N=18), excessive crying (N=9), and controls without crying problems (N=13). The subjects were healthy, full-term normal infants recruited through pediatric referral. There were no differences between the three groups of infants for infant medical or family demographic characteristics. Face-to-face interaction was used to describe the caregiver's behavior, affect and the extent to which they facilitate or disrupt the infant and to describe the infant's behavior and affect in the context of the interaction with the mother. The infants and their mothers were videotaped in Tronick's Face-to-Face and Still-Face Interaction Paradigm. Infant and maternal affective behaviors were coded using Tronick and Weinberg's scoring system. Kruskal-Wallis tests showed that the interactions of the infants without colic or crying problems were characterized with more engagement with the environment during the first two minutes (p<.05) and still face (p<.05). Also, maternal responses differed in infants with colic. The mothers of infants with colic engaged in more withdrawn behaviors during the first two minutes (p<.05) and the reunion episodes (p<.05). These findings may have implications for the later maternal child attachment relationship.