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Acad Pediatr. 2015 Mar-Apr;15(2):238-44. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2014.10.001. Epub 2014 Nov 22.

Maternal mobile device use during a structured parent-child interaction task.

Author information

1
Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Mass. Electronic address: jenny.radesky@bmc.org.
2
Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich; Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
3
Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich; Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
4
Appugliese Professional Advisors LLC, North Easton, Mass.
5
Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich; Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
6
Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich; Division of Child Behavioral Health, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich; Human Nutrition Program, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine associations of maternal mobile device use with the frequency of mother-child interactions during a structured laboratory task.

METHODS:

Participants included 225 low-income mother-child pairs. When children were ∼6 years old, dyads were videotaped during a standardized protocol in order to characterize how mothers and children interacted when asked to try familiar and unfamiliar foods. From videotapes, we dichotomized mothers on the basis of whether or not they spontaneously used a mobile device, and we counted maternal verbal and nonverbal prompts toward the child. We used multivariate Poisson regression to study associations of device use with eating prompt frequency for different foods.

RESULTS:

Mothers were an average of 31.3 (SD 7.1) years old, and 28.0% were of Hispanic/nonwhite race/ethnicity. During the protocol, 23.1% of mothers spontaneously used a mobile device. Device use was not associated with any maternal characteristics, including age, race/ethnicity, education, depressive symptoms, or parenting style. Mothers with device use initiated fewer verbal (relative rate 0.80; 95% confidence interval 0.63, 1.03) and nonverbal (0.61; 0.39, 0.96) interactions with their children than mothers who did not use a device, when averaged across all foods. This association was strongest during introduction of halva, the most unfamiliar food (0.67; 0.48, 0.93 for verbal and 0.42; 0.20, 0.89 for nonverbal interactions).

CONCLUSIONS:

Mobile device use was common and associated with fewer interactions with children during a structured interaction task, particularly nonverbal interactions and during introduction of an unfamiliar food. More research is needed to understand how device use affects parent-child engagement in naturalistic contexts.

KEYWORDS:

mobile device; mobile phone; parenting; parent–child interaction

PMID:
25454369
PMCID:
PMC4355325
DOI:
10.1016/j.acap.2014.10.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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