Faculty Publications


Understanding triadic and family group interactions during infancy and toddlerhood.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

James P. McHale

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 1999

Date Available

March 2012


This paper outlines recent conceptual and methodological developments in the assessment of triadic and family group process during infancy and toddlerhood. Foundations of the emerging family group process are identified, and conditions specific to the assessment of the family during the early phases of family formation are summarized. Both microanalytic and global approaches to evaluating mother-father-child interactions are discussed. We highlight both similarities and differences in the strategies and methods employed by several different investigators who have been studying the group dynamics of families with infant and toddler children, and underscore several important family patterns and emerging themes that appear to be cutting across these different methods and measurement strategies. Preliminary evidence for the validity and clinical significance of family-level assessments is summarized, and directions currently being pursued by researchers engaged in studies of the family triad are outlined. We close by identifying several conceptual and clinical issues that remain to be addressed by subsequent work.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2(2), 107-127. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers