Parent-infant interactions during feeding: the role of mothers and fathers




Feeding interactions, fathers, childhood, psychopathological risk, coparenting


Recent literature has been increasingly interested in mother-child and father-child interactions, but there are few studies that have investigated parental psychopathological risk in normal samples. The aim of this study is to explore the quality of interactions of mothers and fathers with their child at 18-24-month-olds during feeding, taking into account possible influences of parental psychopathological risk, and to verify whether mother-child and father-child interactions affect each other. N=60 families were assessed through a videorecorded procedure observing mealtime and a self-report questionnaire for parental psychopathological risk. Results show that the overall quality of mother-child interactions during feeding was no statistically different from father-child interactions. Mothers’ and fathers’ psychopathological risks predicted the general quality of their interactions with their children during feeding in the direction of fewer contingents and less sensitive exchanges. Our results show also that the quality of mother-child and father-child interactions affect each other. In sum, this study shows that mothers and fathers have a similar relationship quality with their children during feeding. Parents-child interactions influenced one another, stressing the importance to investigate the couple relationship between parents.