Maternal Movement Patterns in Relation to Personality Features and Emotional Availability: An Application of the Kestenberg Movement Profile

Masami Araki, Pace University


The current study is part of a set of studies developed within the Mind, Movement, Interaction and Development Research Group of Pace University, supervised by K. Mark Sossin, Ph.D. This study was designed to contribute to current understandings of relational qualities, interpersonal differences, and meaningful nonverbal behaviors observable in parent-dyad relationships. The purpose of this particular study is to explore correspondences among nonverbal behavioral indices of relational patterns demonstrated by both mother and infant, maternal personality features, and observed emotional availability in the dyads. The sample is comprised of 10 mothers in co-presence and unstructured interaction with their 8-14 month old infants. The Kestenberg Movement Profile (KMP; Kestenberg, 1975) was used to systemically code the movement of mothers interacting with their children on digital media video. This was executed in real-time speed, in which the coders coded per movement event. The quality of mother-infant interactions was observed and coded utilizing the Emotional Availability Scales, 4th Edition (EAS; Biringen, 2008); these data were from a larger data set and analyzed by a previous team. EAS was assessed from the interaction of mother-infant pairs who participated in a 20-minute free play session that was videotaped. The same video sampling was used for both EAS and KMP codings. The Laban and Kestenberg literatures suggest correspondences between Effort Movement Patterns and adult personality. Current findings with this small sample partially supported specific hypotheses, and did not confirm others. Key findings included that reliability proved to be challenging between both co-raters for several variables which limited the interpretation of certain results containing unreliable variables. Further, the exploration of the 23 most frequent sequential movement patterns indicate correlations between lagl movement sequences with EA and NEO-FFI-3 variables: direct followed by strong and strong followed by direct were found to have positive correlations with EA Structure, acceleration followed by direct positively correlated with NEO Extraversion, and direct followed by light was found to negatively correlate with EA Non-Hostility. Regarding singular movement frequencies, it was found that Extraversion was negatively correlated with the Strong movement, Neuroticism was positively correlated with Gentle movement patterns, Agreeableness positively correlated with Light movements. Results suggest that there are associations between select movement patterns and personality traits within the constructs of the KMP and NEO-FFI-3 assessments. Results are further discussed in terms of the limitations, practical applications of the findings and implications for future research.^

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Araki, Masami, "Maternal Movement Patterns in Relation to Personality Features and Emotional Availability: An Application of the Kestenberg Movement Profile" (2017). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI10669692.



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