ERIC Number: ED361105
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Mental Representations of Relationships, Parent Belief Systems, and Parenting Behavior.
Grusec, Joan E.; And Others
Research on determinants of parenting behavior has traditionally focused on parents' goals and beliefs about child rearing or on the effect of parents' own attachment experiences. In an effort to relate these two approaches, a study was conducted to examine parent behaviors and attitudes in 94 parent-child dyads. Dyads consisted of 20 fathers and 74 mothers, and 53 boys and 41 girls (from 4 to 7 years of age). One-third of the dyads were referred by child protection agencies as being involved in child abuse or neglect. Parents completed an Adult Attachment Interview and were then categorized as either secure/autonomous, dismissive of the importance of attachment relationships, or preoccupied by early attachments. In addition, parents' attitudes were assessed with regard to the extent of control they or their children have over parent-child problems, attribution of responsibility and intentionality in their children's actions, and their own negative thoughts after a difficult interaction with their child. Results of the study indicated a strong relationship between parents' thoughts on childrearing and their mental representations of relationships (representations acquired very early in childhood). While attribution of responsibility/intentionality did not seem to be affected by attachment classifications, parents categorized as preoccupied attributed to themselves more control over bad interactions, attributed more bad behavior to the child's personality, and reported more negative thoughts on interactions than did parents categorized as secure or dismissive. (Contains 10 references.) (BCY)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (60th, New Orleans, LA, March 25-28, 1993).