Growth and Risk in Infancy

This book is based on detailed weekly observations of infants in their home environment from shortly after birth until two years. Each infant's interactions, relationships, physical, emotional and cognitive development are systematically studied. The focus of the study is on vulnerable infants, and problems in their development encountered in the course of observations are carefully assessed in terms of risk and resilience. The aims of the book are to explore, first, how far these observations can contribute to the development of a new methodology for studying infancy; second, how this approach leads to the emergence of new theoretical concepts and, third, how this study can influence professionals in the field.

The book demonstrates that these observations can combine theoretical perspectives from psychoanalysis and child development psychology and can extend both kinds of theory. Comparisons between the infants leads to the development of a theoretical model, and this is demonstrated throughout the five case studies. The findings from the study concentrate on continuity and change in infant development and how the model facilitated conceptualisations and comparisons of infant development. The book ends with considered conclusions about risk in infancy and the scope for further research.

The book will be essential for all engaged in the study of infancy, and for professionals working with infants, young children and their families.

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