Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Adam Sheya; Dr. Dean Cruess

Honors Major

Psychological Sciences


Developmental Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior


This project aimed to examine the mother-child dyad during the second year (toddlerhood) in regards to sensitive parenting, with valuable insight into the naturalistic setting of the home (as opposed to a laboratory). With a subset of participants from the National Institute of Health sponsored study, The Play and Learning Across a Year Project (The PLAY Project), I evaluated mother-child dyads and the contact between them, in regards to supportive vs. restrictive touch; as well as attention paid to the child by the mother. Hour-long videos taken in the home environment were analyzed with Datavyu coding software to catch instances of contact and code attention. Children in the available subject pool were either 12, 18, or 24 months old (n = 4 total). I hypothesized that supportive contact and maternal attention were both valid constructs to gauge maternal sensitivity; this contradicts the number of global rating scales of maternal sensitivity that exclude interpersonal touch and maternal attention.