University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 25.11.2017 EL, LL Marianna Savio (Faculty of Education and Psychology, Psychology)

Start date: Nov 25, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Nov 25, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, Old festival hall (S212)

Marianna Savio
EL, LL Marianna Savio defends her doctoral dissertation in Information Technology ”Vauvaperheen perhedynamiikka - Monimenetelmätapaustutkimus perhesuhteista ja vuorovaikutuksesta lapsen ensimmäisen elinvuoden aikana”. Opponent Professor Emeritus Jorma Piha (University of Turku) and custos Professor Jaakko Seikkula (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.


This study examined changes in family dynamics in infant families during the first year of the child’s life and in the child’s interaction with the mother and father. Questionnaire, interview and videotaped interaction data were gathered from seven families. Families were recruited from well-baby clinics and from child and adult psychiatric out-patient clinics. Three babies were first borns and three  were girls. Both parents filled in questionnaires when the infant was three, six and twelve months old. Parents were interviewed using the WMCI method and interaction sequences were videotaped when the child was one year old. Questionnaires were analysed, interviews evaluated by their content, and family interaction videotapes analysed using the EA-scale. The data were written up in the form of case stories. The results showed that changes were inevitable during the first post-natal year and that for parents they were unpredictable. Parents' mutuality, clear communication and roles, and sense of stability are important for successful coping with change in the family. The most challenging time for the family, in terms of the couple relationship, parenthood, representations about the child and interaction with the child occurred when the child was about six months old. A family situation in which parental mental problems accompany infant physical problems raises the risks for divorce and/or wellbeing of the family members. During the first year of life, a child forms a unique relationship with both parents. The sensitivity of the relationship can change, depending on the degree of changes in a parent’s sensitivity to the child. In clinical infant family work, it is essential to assess the family situation from viewpoints of both the child's and the parents. To reveal the dynamics of the whole family and find the most useful intervention method, clinical assessment should be based on information gathered from different sources using diverse methods.

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