Center for Promotion of Child Development through Primary Care

Development of a Microanalytic Laboratory for the Study of Emotional and Behavioral Development in the Context of the Pediatric Visit

Principal Investigator: Katie Albus, Ph.D.

In Collaboration with: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics

Staff from The Center are currently developing a laboratory that will allow for the microanalysis of well-baby visits. The goal of the laboratory is to develop and assess standardized paradigms that optimize the utility of the pediatric well-baby visit for the detection of early problems in infant development and family functioning.

As the only child health professionals afforded regular contact with infants and their families, pediatricians are in a unique position to assess and monitor child and family functioning, if the well-baby checkup is utilized to its fullest potential. In developing our microanalytic study laboratory, our goal is to refine and validate standardized procedures to be used in the context of the routine well-baby checkup. Specifically, the proposed research will attempt to validate a standardized physical exam and visual attention paradigm designed to screen for developmental delay in infancy, and a system for assessing parental sensitivity using required medical procedures as a naturalistic context for the observation of sensitivity to infant distress.

These paradigms have been developed by Center staff and will be refine through pilot clinical testing. Videotaped clinical encounters will be digitized, allowing for micro-level analysis of infant and parent behavior. Validation of these paradigms will maximize the power of the pediatric well-baby visit by allowing health care professionals to detect and address early problems in infant development and family functioning.