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Massie, H., Bronstein, A.A., Afterman, J. (1988). Inner Themes and Outer Behaviors in Early Childhood Development—A Longitudinal Study. Psychoanal. St. Child, 43:213-242.

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(1988). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 43:213-242

Inner Themes and Outer Behaviors in Early Childhood Development—A Longitudinal Study

Henry Massie, M.D., Abbot A. Bronstein, Ph.D. and Joseph Afterman, M.D.

SEVERAL YEARS AGO WE BEGAN A PROSPECTIVE LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF key elements of early personality development. The study sought especially to describe how a mother's personality is reflected in her behavior with her infant, and how these maternal behaviors become transfigured (if they do at all) into the child's own emerging character.

Our study focuses on how the mother responds to her infant in moments of mild to moderate stress. The responses that we look at are specific actions: How does she gaze, vocalize, touch, hold, show affect, and maintain closeness to the upset baby? Equally important to these external responses is what lies beneath the surface: Why does the mother minister the way she does? Her overt responses are instinctive


Henry Massie is director, child psychiatry residency training, St. Mary's Hospital, San Francisco; Abbot Bronstein is director of psychology, psychiatric services, Children's Hospital, San Francisco; Joseph Afterman is on the faculty of St. Mary's Hospital, and supervising analyst, San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute; and Kay Campbell is in private practice in Southfield, Michigan.

We are very grateful to several colleagues who have instrumentally assisted in different stages of the project: Martha Harris, Toni Heineman, Naomi Low, Debra Melman, Riva Nelson, Candace Pierce, Judith Rosenthal, Gabrielle Thomson, Ruth Weatherford, Eleanor Willemsen, and Myla Young. In addition, we are most appreciative of the generous support of the Morris Stulsaft Foundation, Children's Hospital, and St. Mary's Hospital, San Francisco.

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