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Early life experiences: Meaningful differences within and between families

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Sophie von Stumm, Rachel Marie Latham

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
JournalInfant Behaviour and Development
Early online date10 Sep 2018
Accepted/In press4 Sep 2018
E-pub ahead of print10 Sep 2018
PublishedNov 2018


King's Authors


Previous research has focused on differences in early life experiences that occur between families and their impact on children's development. However, less is known about the variations in early life experiences that occur within families. Here, 53 British mothers (mean age = 34.46 years; SD = 4.35) of newborn infants (mean age = 1.68 months, SD = 0.96) used a smartphone application (app) to repeatedly rate their wellbeing and support and to report their baby's and their own dietary and sleeping patterns (4 app alerts per week for 3 weeks; 12 assessments in total). We found that the app was a practicable tool for observing early life experiences, and that early life experiences differed on average to a greater extent within, rather than between families (59% versus 41% of the total variance). We also found preliminary evidence for meaningful associations among contemporaneous within-family variations in early life experiences.

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