Social Experiences and Daily Routines of African American Infants in Different Socioeconomic Contexts

Hillary N. Fouts, Jaipaul Lalla Roopnarine, Michael E. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Sixty-two 3- to 4-month-old African American infants from lower, middle, and upper socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds were each observed in naturalistic contexts for 12 hr. The social experiences of infants in the 3 groups were similar in many ways: Infants from all backgrounds slept and were vocalized to for similar amounts of time. However, infants in the upper SES families engaged in more self-play, vocalized less, fussed less, had fewer but longer naps, and fewer but longer bouts of social interaction than did infants in the middle- and lower SES families. Infants in the upper SES families also received more verbal affection and soothing responses to their fussing and crying than did the other infants, whereas infants in the lower SES families interacted more with extended kin than did infants in the upper SES families. These results underscore the need to study African American families in a variety of socioeconomic contexts because families in more advantaged circumstances may greatly differ from those who are more disadvantaged, especially in terms of reliance on extended kin as caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-664
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007



  • African American families
  • extended kin
  • infant behavior
  • SES
  • social interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

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