A study describing mothers' opinions of the crying behaviour of infants under one year of age

Journal article citation:
Child Abuse Review, 17(3), May 2008, pp.191-200.

The focus of this study arose from a literature review related to the part infant crying may play in shaken baby syndrome. A common finding of studies exploring the mechanism and management of infant crying is that, despite the difficulties in agreeing a definition for excessive crying, there is no doubt that parents find prolonged crying episodes challenging. This may lead to interaction problems and abuse. The aim of the study was to describe mothers' opinions of the crying behaviour of infants under one year to establish some baseline information that could be used in the design of preventative programmes and parent education. Some themes and directions for further research are suggested. Evidence on how parents cope and findings regarding parental perceptions about why infants cry could be valuable in prevention and parenting programmes. Other findings were that mothers feel guilty when unable to console a crying infant, that they perceive that fathers would respond by passing the baby to a female carer, that they think infants cry to gain attention and as a reaction to parental stress, and that tiredness influenced their ability to cope. There are indications that many parents believe boys can withstand rougher handling, an area which therefore requires more investigation.

Subject terms:
mothers, parenting, babies, child abuse;
Content type:
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