ERIC Number: ED208618
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Parental Reactions to an Infant with a Birth Defect: A Study of Five Families.
Five families whose first born infant experienced a birth anomaly were followed for two years through a combination of home and laboratory visits. Findings suggested that the birth of an infant with a defect was experienced by the parents as a narcissistic injury and a series of narcissistic insults that affect the parents' self esteem, interfere with the normal maneuvers to reinstitute self esteem, and potentially interfere with the parenting process. Specific reactions of the parents to the birth of their infant with a defect were found to be related to their intrapsychic dynamics, to deviations from their prebirth expectations, to aspects of the infant and of the defect, to the capacity for reciprocity in the marital relationship, and to the role of the surrounding environmental supports. The five case studies highlighted the vicissitudes of parental reactions and of the parenting process. Some of the factors enhancing and interfering with parental attachment with the infant were described, as were some of the adaptive maneuvers utilized by the parents. (Author/SB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (San Francisco, CA, March 15, 1979).