Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Project Chairperson

Yvonne Swinth

Second Advisor

Renee Watling

Third Advisor

Maggie Hayes


Caregiver, Technology, Attachment


Ellie Olson, OTR/L, the primary collaborator for this project, is the owner of Fall City Children’s Therapy. In collaboration with occupational therapy (OT) students and faculty advisors, Renee Watling, Maggie Hayes, and Yvonne Swinth, the research question, “Does caregiver use of portable technology impact attachment for infants and young children?” was developed. This systematic review resulted in 12 articles meeting inclusion and exclusion criteria. The articles reported mixed results: (1) association between parent technology use and child attachment, (2) no association between parent technology use and child attachment, and (3) other associations besides parent technology use and child attachment, including quality of interactions during and after parent cell phone use, parent responsiveness to child, and increased negative child behaviors. After reviewing the research/literature, it was recommended that parents be cautious about their technology use around their children and take into consideration potential impacts portable technology use may have.

Knowledge translation for this project consisted of compiling and synthesizing research into an informational brochure distributed to caregivers at Fall City Children’s Therapy and University of Puget Sound occupational therapy teaching clinic. A post-brochure survey assessed knowledge gained by consumers and change in attitude toward technology use from after reading the informational brochure. Seven surveys were completed and all respondents reported caregiver technology use had an impact on parent child attachment including, quality of attachment, caregiver-child interaction, and increased child protest behavior. Of the respondents, a majority indicated that they were planning on changing their technology use around their children. In the future, it was recommended for further exploration of the impact of caregiver's technology usage specifically on children’s emotional regulation.

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