The emergence of separation protest is robust under conditions of severe developmental stress in rural Bangladesh

Infant Behav Dev. 2012 Jun;35(3):393-6. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2012.02.010. Epub 2012 Jun 19.


The response of 185 infants to their mothers' departure was assessed in a rural area of Bangladesh. Despite their poor health and nutritional status, this group of infants showed the same peak in separation protest around the end of the first year that has been documented for healthier samples in several cultural contexts; correlational analysis suggests that the healthier infants were more likely to display protest. In addition, there was an earlier rise and decline in distress at maternal departure in the first half year of life, not seen in other reports. In this case, poor health appeared to dispose toward upset, indicating that the most fragile infants were least able to cope with the regulatory demands imposed by maternal departure. Overall, the results are evidence for a very strongly canalized transformation of cognitive and emotional functioning toward the end of the first year of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Bangladesh
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior / psychology*
  • Male
  • Maternal Deprivation*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Population
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*