What factors influence dyadic synchrony? A systematic review of the literature on predictors of mother-infant dyadic processes of shared behaviour and affect

Lisa Golds*, Karri Gillespie-Smith, Emy Nimbley, Angus MacBeth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dyadic behavioural synchrony is a complex interactional process that takes place between the mother and her infant. In the first year of life, when the infant is prelinguistic, processes such as synchrony enable the dyad to communicate through shared behaviour and affect. To date, no systematic review has been carried out to understand the risk- and protective factors that influence behavioural synchrony in the mother-infant dyad. The aim of this review was to identify and evaluate the factors that influence behavioural synchrony in the mother-infant dyad, when the infant is between 3 – 9 months old. Key electronic databases were searched between 1970 and April 2021, and 28 eligible studies were identified for review. As the results were largely heterogeneous, four subgroups of factors were identified: (i) infant demographics, (ii) physiological factors, (iii) maternal mental health, and (iv) miscellaneous factors. Identified risk factors and covariates suggest that social determinants of health, underpinned by biological factors, play a large role in influencing behavioural synchrony within the dyad. Implications for the need to identify additional risk- and protective factors, as well as design support for at-risk families are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Early online date1 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • synchrony
  • dyadic processes
  • mother-infant interaction

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