This study examines the development of television (TV) behaviors across the first 18 months of life and identifies maternal and infant predictors of infant TV exposure.
We used longitudinal TV exposure, maternal sociodemographic, and infant temperament data from 217 African-American mother-infant pairs participating in the Infant Care and Risk of Obesity Study. Longitudinal logistic models and ordered regression models with clustering for repeated measures across subjects adjusted for infant gender and visit were used to assess maternal and infant predictors of TV exposure and to test whether infants with both maternal and infant risk factors had higher odds of more detrimental TV exposure.
Infants as young as 3 months old were exposed to an average of 2.6 hours of TV and/or videos daily, and nearly 40% of infants were exposed to >3 hours of TV daily by 12 months of age. Maternal TV viewing and maternal obesity and infant activity, fussiness, and crying were associated with greater infant TV exposure, whereas maternal education and infant activity were associated with having the TV on during most meals. Infants perceived as being more active or fussier had higher TV exposure, particularly if their mothers also had risk factors for higher TV exposure.
Understanding the characteristics that shape TV exposure and its biological and behavioral sequelae is critical for early intervention. Maternal perception of infant temperament dimensions is related to TV exposure, suggesting that infant temperament measures should be included in interventions aimed at limiting early TV.