Social and Cultural Contexts in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Cory Shulman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Child development and culture are inseparable. In assessing the behaviors of parents and children from diverse backgrounds, mental health professionals must be aware of these intercultural and intracultural dynamics. This chapter deals with infant socialization, parent-child relations and cultural values as socializing agents and their implications for infant and early childhood mental health. Family and cultural influences are presented as a primary focus through which to understand the complex ways in which infants develop. Particular caregiving techniques must be understood through the lens of a specific culture. Successful socialization involves learning a broad set of rules which govern accepted cultural normative behavior and provides the foundation for interaction with other children, caregivers, adults, neighbors and others in their social group. The chapter discusses the challenges of conducting research into social competence and development, including the culturally specific nature of social competence, and a variety of research paradigms in this field.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationChildren's Well-Being
Subtitle of host publicationIndicators and Research
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameChildren's Well-Being: Indicators and Research
ISSN (Print)1879-5196
ISSN (Electronic)1879-520X

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


  • Child rearing
  • Cross-cultural diversity
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Culture
  • Parenting styles
  • Socialization


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