Since my last blog, three important things have happened. One of our hold-ups has been a technical one — we needed to be granted permission and assistance by Pace to move cameras from one room to the nursery where we will be conducting our study. In our past pilot sessions we used cell phone cameras (through a one-way mirror) and an audio recording device inside the nursery to record the caregiver-child interaction. Aside from the difficulty of sinking the audio and video, there was the fundamental issue that we missed many of the nuances of facial expression when the participants were not facing the one-way mirror. With cameras on the interior of the nursery that capture the scope of the room, we will be able to insure that we do not miss any nuances in the interaction.
The second important thing that has occurred is that we have honed in on a potential scale which we may use to code our observations, the Dyadic Prestressor Interaction Scale (DPIS) which was designed for a study observing the interactions between parents and young children when a stressor (in the case of the original study, a doctor’s visit) was anticipated. We had originally considered the Emotional Availability (EA) scale, but the training process and cost was a roadblock. It is significant that we have found a highly relevant scale, the DPIS, for a few reasons. The scale is based on attachment theory and attachment-based dynamics. This is relevant as the angle through which we are analyzing the phenomena of text-message based distraction is very much inspired by attachment theory. Furthermore, using an attachment-based scale may lead to implications on the effects of this type of distraction on the attachment system of dyads. Another appealing aspect of the DPIS is that it is designed to code the behaviors of bothmembers of the dyad. Many observational scales do not account for both the child and caregiver, while other scales assess the child’s behavior in relation to peers. In reaching out to the authors of the DPIS, we learned that their methods of insuring reliability may be feasible to our own interests — the authors insured reliability amongst themselves and then trained their research assistants to be reliable.
The third important thing that has happened is that our study has been funded by Pace. This will allows us to pay participants a small gift for their participation and hopefully help attract more participants!