Infants From Rural Families Tend To Display Negative Emotions More Frequently Than Their Urban Counterparts: Study

Researchers claim that infants from rural families tend to display negative emotions such as anger and frustration more frequently than their urban counterparts. This study has been published in the Journal of Community Psychology.

According to the study, babies born in big cities are typically less fussy, and not as bothered by limits set by their caregivers compared to those growing up in cities.

The researchers examined the differences in infant temperament, parent-child interactions, and parenting stress between families of similar socioeconomic and racial composition in the Inland Northwest and the San Francisco Bay Area in the US.

They found that urban moms tend to be better at picking up on when their babies wanted or needed something, or were ready to be done with play, and responding accordingly.

The scientists believe, this may have led to their infants generally being calmer and less easily upset.

Rural moms, they said, reported more frequent expressions of negative emotions from their infants, particularly when they were distressed due to limitations.

In subsequent studies, researchers will try to find exactly what factors causes the differences in temperament between the two groups. Factors like, access to mental and behavioural health services and child rearing resources will be examined.

The current study analysed and compared data from two previously conducted studies of mother-child interactions and infant temperament.

The first one consisted of 68 participants and their infants in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the second involved 120 rural mothers and their infants from Whitman and Latah counties in the Inland Northwest of the US. In both the studies, mothers used a questionnaire to record the frequency of 191 different behaviours their child displayed at six and 12 months after birth.

The researchers then analysed babies along 14 different dimensions that ranged from cuddliness to vocal reactivity. They also assessed parent-child interactions, where mothers were instructed to engage their infants in play in a typical fashion.

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