Differences in practices of body stimulation during the first 3 months: ethnotheories and behaviors of Italian mothers and west African immigrant mothers.

Carra, C., Lavelli, M., & Keller, H. (2014). Differences in practices of body stimulation during the first 3 months: Ethnotheories and behaviors of Italian mothers and West African immigrant mothers. Infant Behavior & Development, 37, 5-15. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.10.004

Abstract. This study investigated cultural differences, continuity and change of practices concerning body stimulation in a context of immigration. Parenting behaviors during the interaction with infants at 4, 8 and 12 weeks, and parenting ethnotheories at 12 weeks of first-generation West African immigrant mothers in Italy and autochthonous Italian mothers were compared. A qualitative inspection of ethnotheories using a thematic approach was included. As expected, results showed that immigrant mothers placed more emphasis on motor stimulation and showed longer durations of rhythmic motor and rhythmic tactile behaviors than Italian mothers; the latter placed more emphasis on tactile stimulation than immigrant mothers. The practice of motor stimulation in immigrant mothers was also adapted to values of the new context of life, becoming a positive interaction game with a mutual exchange of positive emotions. Findings express the complexity of a multidimensional process of acculturation.