Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 121–131 | Cite as

Quality of social interaction in foster dyads at child age 2 and 3 years

  • Heidi JacobsenEmail author
  • Kristin Alvestad Vang
  • Karoline Mentzoni Lindahl
  • Tore Wentzel-Larsen
  • Lars Smith
  • Vibeke Moe
Original Article


The main aim of this study was to investigate the quality of social interaction between 60 foster parents and their foster children compared to a group of 55 non-foster families at 2 (T1) and again at 3 (T2) years of age. Video observations were used to investigate child–parent interaction at both time-points. “This is My Baby” interview was administered to investigate foster parents’ commitment at T1. The main results revealed significant group differences at T1 on all child–parent social interaction measures, although not at T2. Further, a significant group by time interaction was identified for parental sensitivity, revealing a positive development over time in the foster group. Finally, a significant positive relation was found between commitment at T1 and parental sensitivity. The results convey an optimistic view of the possibilities for foster dyads to develop positive patterns of social interaction over time.


Foster care Child–parent interaction Sensitivity Commitment 



We thank all the children and families who took part in this study.


This project has been financially supported by the National Network for Infant Mental Health, Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Eastern and Southern Norway; the Norwegian Extra Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation through EXTRA funds (Grant Number: 2010/FOM9392), as well as funds from the Ministry of Children and Equality.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical Approval

I This study was approved by the National Committees for Research Ethics and Norwegian Centre for Research Data.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants (caregivers and child protection services) included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi Jacobsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kristin Alvestad Vang
    • 2
  • Karoline Mentzoni Lindahl
    • 2
  • Tore Wentzel-Larsen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lars Smith
    • 2
  • Vibeke Moe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department for Infant Mental Health, Regional Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Eastern and Southern NorwayOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress StudiesOsloNorway

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