Infant state in relation to its environmental context

Katharine Rieke Lawson, Gerald Turkewitz, Meridith Platt, Cecelia McCarton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Two neonatal intensive care units (NICU) were observed every 15 minutes for at least 72 consecutive hours. Although infants on both NICUs were exposed to considerable amounts of stimulation, there were differences between the units for each environmental measure in the amount of stimulation and/or the pattern of circadian periodicity. The two NICUs also differed in the amount of time infants spent in various states and in the pattern of state periodicity. In general, the diurnal rhythms of the infant states were associated with the diurnal rhythms of different environmental events; furthermore, the patterns of association were not the same on the two NICUs. The results point to potential problems in depicting a "typical" NICU. More importantly, they suggest that the environmental of NICUs has a recognizable influence on aspects of their inhabitants' behavior and that the nature of influence is different from NICU to NICU. The effects are potentially significant for physical, social, and cognitive development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-281
Number of pages13
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • diurnal rhythm
  • environmental effects
  • handling
  • infant state
  • intensive care
  • light
  • premature infants
  • sound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Infant state in relation to its environmental context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this