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ERIC Number: EJ1085859
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 65
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
What It Feels Like to Be a Mother: Variations by Children's Developmental Stages
Luthar, Suniya S.; Ciciolla, Lucia
Developmental Psychology, v52 n1 p143-154 Jan 2016
The central question we addressed was whether mothers' adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an Internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers' personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of their children. Uniformly, adjustment indices showed curvilinear patterns across children's developmental stages, with mothers of middle-schoolers faring the most poorly, and mothers of adult children and infants faring the best. Findings based on children in mutually exclusive age groups--for example, mothers with only (1 or more) infants, preschoolers, and so forth--had larger effect sizes than those based on the age of the mothers' oldest child. In contrast to the recurrent findings based on children's developmental stages, mothers' adjustment dimensions showed few variations by their children's gender. Collectively, results of this study suggest that there is value in preventive interventions involving mothers not just in their children's infancy and preschool years, but also as their children traverse the developmentally challenging years surrounding puberty.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: UCLA Loneliness Scale; Zung Self Rating Depression Scale
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: R01DA014385|R13MH082592