Is babytalk a good or bad thing in a romantic relationship?


It is suggested that while babytalk plays a role in mother–child bonding, it can also express and facilitate intimate psychological connection in a variety of relationships. Literature is reviewed to show that an association between babytalk and intimate attachment makes sense. A questionnaire study is presented which explores this association among 95 female and 31 male 17–49 yr olds. Self-reported features and examples of the speech register (as spoken in a particular romance) verified it as babytalk. Individuals who had babytalked to friends or romantic partners tended to be more secure and less avoidant with regard to attachments in general. Within a particular romantic relationship, indicators of intimacy and attachment accounted for about 22% of the variance in babytalk frequency. Partner’s babytalking was the strongest predictor, accounting for about 42% of the variance. Communication intentions accompanying babytalk paralleled the hallmarks of attachment, especially affection and play. These and other results suggest that babytalk functions in the process of intimate personal connection.

Source: “Babytalk as a communication of intimate attachment: An initial study in adult romances and friendships.” from Personal Relationships, Vol 3(2), Jun 1996, 137-158.

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