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Methods

A descriptive correlational study design was utilized with a cross-sectional sample. The study was conducted at a federally funded health center for the underserved located in an urban area in the southeastern United States. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained through the University of Central Florida prior to the start of this research study. Thirty biological mothers participated in the survey. As part of inclusion criteria, they were required to be able to speak and read English, to be at least eighteen years old and to be accompanied by their infant (who had to be twelve months of age or younger).

The researcher set up an informational area in the waiting room and participation was completely voluntary. Interested mothers could pick up a flyer about the study, and the researcher was available at all times to answer questions. Mothers agreeing to participate completed the consent process and were given a questionnaire.

The questionnaire consisted of three parts. The first part included demographic questions, in which participants self-identified as African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, or Other, and the Mother-Infant Touch Survey (MITS), which was developed by the researcher and research mentor. The MITS included 14 demographic questions and 17 questions. The assessment assigns a score between 13 and 65, with a higher number indicating more positive touch between the respondent and her infant.

The second part included parts I and II of the Physical Contact Assessment (Weiss, Wilson, Hertenstein, & Campos, 2000). This 20 item self-report, Likert-type questionnaire has three subscales. Subscale 1 ("Attitudes toward Touch") and subscale 2 ("Felt Security regarding Tactile Experience as a Child") were used in this study, totaling 17 questions. Each section of the Physical Contact Assessment was scored separately. Subscale I measured attitudes toward touch, and subscale II measured an individual's felt security regarding the touch he or she received as a child in the family of origin. We will refer to these two survey subscales as Touch 1 (T1) and Touch 2 (T2), respectively. Internal reliability for the Physical Contact Assessment in past research studies was calculated at 0.83 (Weiss et. al., 2000) and internal consistency was reported at 0.89 (Weiss & Wilson, 2006).

The third questionnaire, the Resilience Scale, has been used extensively in many research studies. It is also a self-report Likert-type scale composed of 14 questions. The Resilience Scale (RS) scores range from 14 to 98, with higher scores indicating a higher level of resilience. It has been used to test resiliency across many different demographics, including European Americans, African Americans, Hispanic-Latinos, American Indians, adolescent mothers, Irish immigrants, homeless adolescents, and military wives, as well as young, middle-aged, and older adult participants with ages ranging from 16 to 103. The Resilience Scale has proven to be a reliable tool in other studies with adult participants (Cronbach's Alpha = 0.84-0.94). When used to measure depression, morale, life satisfaction, and perceived stress, the scale proved to be valid by coinciding with researchers' hypotheses regarding these factors' positive or negative relationships with resiliency 100% of the time (Wagnild, 2009).

Analysis included descriptive statistics and an investigation into possible correlations among scores on several surveys and scores on the RS.

Results >>