Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Kimberly A. Crosland

Keywords

Caregiver behavior, Child abuse, Colic, Crying, Inconsolable crying, Infant simulator

Abstract

This study was conducted to replicate and extend previous research on infant caregiver behavior by demonstrating negative reinforcement of infant caregiver behavior in response to crying and teaching appropriate care responses under conditions of inconsolable crying. A computerized infant simulator was used to create a laboratory simulation of infant caregiving. In Study 1, participants were exposed to negative reinforcement conditions and an extinction condition. In the negative reinforcement condition, participants engaged in caregiving responses to escape from the cry. In the extinction condition, the cry was inescapable and two of three participants stopped engaging in the previously reinforced caregiving response. Data was collected on cumulative duration of caregiving responses. In Study 2, participants were taught a task analysis of appropriate care responses under conditions of inconsolable crying using behavior skills training. Data were collected on percentage of completed appropriate care responses. Results showed acquisition of appropriate care responses following training.

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