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Thomas, R. (1964). Infants in Institutions: A Comparison of their Development with Family-Reared Infants During the First Year of Life: By Sally Provence and Rose Lipton. (New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1962. Pp. 191. $5.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:135-139.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:135-139

Infants in Institutions: A Comparison of their Development with Family-Reared Infants During the First Year of Life: By Sally Provence and Rose Lipton. (New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1962. Pp. 191. $5.00.)

Review by:
Ruth Thomas

It was natural that the earliest observational studies by psycho-analysts of the mother-infant relationship should have been directed to its life-sustaining function (Spitz: 'Hospitalism', 1945–46) and to the grosser abnormalities in object relationship and behaviour which were seen to be the outcome of deficient emotional investment (A. Freud and Burlingham: Young Children in War-Time, 1942; Bowlby, 1945–46 and others.) With the work of Escalona and the later work of Spitz, Kris and others, attention moved to a more minute study of the specific lacunae in development which underlay these gross abnormalities, and inevitably therefore to the detailed defects in ego organization initiated by defective care in the first year of life. These studies begin to be remarkable for the resourcefulness of their methodology and the precision and scientific care which alone can produce the data required. It is significant that once again in this field, as in the achievement of our basic knowledge of emotional and instinctual growth, we appear to be dependent on the study of distortions and deviations arising in the context of the abnormal. The present report belongs in this category and is a very significant contribution.

Provence and Lipton report on a research study of institutionalized infants (conducted from the Yale University Child Study Centre), in which their development in the first year of life was compared with that of infants living with their own families. Seventy-five babies in each group were observed in a longitudinal study lasting five years. Every endeavour was made to establish that the babies were free from congenital handicap, neurological disorders, and acute or chronic illness.

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