Pacifier Habit: Study of Family Dynamics from the Perspective of General Systems Theory

2022 • Volume 16 • Issue 3

Adriana Dantas Costa; Eliana Dantas Costa & Rosana de Fátima Possobon



This study aimed to know perception of the marital subsystem (parents) and to understand the dynamics of the family system in offer of pacifiers. Ten couples, parents of children between 4 and 7 years old, were interviewed by means of a semi-structured script of questions about the offer of pacifiers for their children. Answers by qualitative method of content analysis, using predefined categories of the General Systems Theory (homeostasis, circularity, globality, non-summativity, morphogenesis and equifinality). Pacifier offer reestablished the Homeotasis related to adaptation of mother in postpartum period; in introduction of artificial nipples due to allergy to breast milk and to avoid thumb sucking. Circularity occurred in paternal support to stimulate breastfeeding and in offer of pacifier to reduce the dependence of baby regarding the mother. Globality occurred when offer of pacifier softened mastitis and colic of baby. Non-somivity was evidenced in the mother’s attitude in controlling behavior of children with offer of pacifier. Morphogenesis predominated in influence of external systems (health, school, kinship, marketing and social media) on family decision to offer pacifiers. Offer of pacifiers interfered in Equifinality, favoring the organization of family system in face of complications in breastfeeding. Offer of pacifier sought to meet emergency needs of baby, although there was a perception of consequences for child’s health in long term. General Theory of Systems allowed verifying the dynamics of family system, which can be applied by health professionals in order to understand the factors involved in offer of pacifiers.

KEY WORDS: pacifier, family, systems theory.


How to cite this article

COSTA, A. D.; COSTA, E. D. & POSSOBON, R. F. Pacifier habit: study of family dynamics from the perspective of general systems theory. Int. J. Odontostomat., 16(3):447-456, 2022.


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