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.

Loading Spinner

Press reviews for: Growth and Risk in Infancy

Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

... an enjoyable and stimulating book. Briggs' study breaks new ground, in that it attempts to operationalize psychoanalytic concepts with the long-term aim of opening them up to empirical study. [The] case studies cover a wide range of family situations and the range of difficulties observed includes maternal depression, the effects of loss and separation, feeding difficulties and speech delay. The pain and complexity of these situations comes across vividly. From the therapeutic point of view perhaps the most valuable insight is how these difficulties are resolved or ameliorated. [F]or new or experienced clinicians it is a rich mine of ideas. Hopefully it will inspire some therapeutic projects as well as further research.

The International Journal of Infant Observation

Brigg's descriptive document is impressive. There is a detailed and sensitive account of the relationship between himself as an "observer" and each baby, with fine detail on moments of contact that have an authentic emotional quality. The attempt at graphically summarising results of comparative measures of functions in the communicative and experiential life of the infants and their parents is interesting, and may point the way to better designed systems of assessment with great value in health and social work.

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

I like Briggs' way of conceptualising some aspects of development. His concepts of "container shape" and "grip relations" are exciting... Its subject is exciting and the method described has great potential... a glimpse of some interesting possibilities, which should be explored further [are given]. Growth and Risk in Infancy should be read by researchers of infancy who have an interest in a naturalistic and qualitative approach to the topic. It will also be of interest to those working in the psychoanalytic tradition with parents and babies.

Customer reviews: