Journal: Developmental psychology
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. (PsycINFO Database Record
Lying is a pervasive human behavior. Evidence to date suggests that from the age of 42 months onward, children become increasingly capable of telling lies in various social situations. However, there is limited experimental evidence regarding whether very young children will tell lies spontaneously. The present study investigated the emergence of lying in very young children. Sixty-five 2- to 3-year-olds were asked not to peek at a toy when the experimenter was not looking. The majority of children (80%) transgressed and peeked at the toy. When asked whether they had peeked at the toy, most 2-year-old peekers were honest and confessed to their peeking, but with increased age, more peekers denied peeking and thus lied. However, when asked follow-up questions that assessed their ability to maintain their initial lies, most children failed to conceal their lie by pretending to be ignorant of the toy’s identity. Additionally, after controlling for age, children’s executive functioning skills significantly predicted young children’s tendency to lie. These findings suggest that children begin to tell lies at a very young age. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
We examined longitudinal associations across an 8-year time span between overcontrolling parenting during toddlerhood, self-regulation during early childhood, and social, emotional, and academic adjustment in preadolescence (N = 422). Overcontrolling parenting, emotion regulation (ER), and inhibitory control (IC) were observed in the laboratory; preadolescent adjustment was teacher-reported and child self-reported. Results from path analysis indicated that overcontrolling parenting at age 2 was associated negatively with ER and IC at age 5, which, in turn, were associated with more child-reported emotional and school problems, fewer teacher-reported social skills, and less teacher-reported academic productivity at age 10. These effects held even when controlling for prior levels of adjustment at age 5, suggesting that ER and IC in early childhood may be associated with increases and decreases in social, emotional, and academic functioning from childhood to preadolescence. Finally, indirect effects from overcontrolling parenting at age 2 to preadolescent outcomes at age 10 were significant, both through IC and ER at age 5. These results support the notion that parenting during toddlerhood is associated with child adjustment into adolescence through its relation with early developing self-regulatory skills. (PsycINFO Database Record
Guided by concepts from a relational developmental perspective, this study examined intra- and interpersonal associations between self-esteem and depressive symptoms in a sample of 1,407 couples surveyed annually across 6 years in the Panel Analysis of Intimate Relations and Family Dynamics (pairfam) study. Autoregressive cross-lagged model results demonstrated that self-esteem predicted future depressive symptoms for male partners at all times, replicating the vulnerability model for men (low self-esteem is a risk factor for future depression). Additionally, a cross-partner association emerged between symptoms of depression: Higher depressive symptoms in one partner were associated with higher levels of depression in the other partner one year later. Finally, supportive dyadic coping, the support that partners reported providing to one another in times of stress, was tested as a potential interpersonal mediator of pathways between self-esteem and depression. Female partners' higher initial levels of self-esteem predicted male partners' subsequent reports of increased supportive dyadic coping, which, in turn, predicted higher self-esteem and fewer symptoms of depression among female partners in the future. Male partners' initially higher symptoms of depression predicted less frequent supportive dyadic coping subsequently reported by female partners, which was associated with increased feelings of depression in the future. Couple relations represent an important contextual factor that may be implicated in the developmental pathways connecting self-esteem and symptoms of depression. (PsycINFO Database Record
This research examined if mothers' day-to-day praise of children’s success in school plays a role in children’s theory of intelligence and motivation. Participants were 120 children (mean age = 10.23 years) and their mothers who took part in a 2-wave study spanning 6 months. During the first wave, mothers completed a 10-day daily interview in which they reported on their use of person (e.g., “You are smart”) and process (e.g., “You tried hard”) praise. Children’s entity theory of intelligence and preference for challenge in school were assessed with surveys at both waves. Mothers' person, but not process, praise was predictive of children’s theory of intelligence and motivation: The more person praise mothers used, the more children subsequently held an entity theory of intelligence and avoided challenge over and above their earlier functioning on these dimensions. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Developmental science is replete with studies on the impact of mothers on their children, but little is known about what might best help caregivers to function well themselves. In an initial effort to address this gap, we conducted an Internet-based study of over 2,000 mostly well-educated mothers, seeking to illuminate salient risk and protective processes associated with their personal well-being. When women’s feelings in the parenting role were considered along with dimensions of personal support as predictors, the latter set explained at least as much variance-and often much more-across dimensions of mothers' personal well-being. Within the latter set of personal support predictors, findings showed that 4 had particularly robust links with mothers' personal adjustment: their feeling unconditionally loved, feeling comforted when in distress, authenticity in relationships, and satisfaction with friendships. Partner satisfaction had some associations with personal adjustment outcomes, but being married in itself had negligible effects. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for future research, and for interventions aimed at fostering resilience among mothers facing high level of stress in their role as parents. (PsycINFO Database Record
By 14 months, infants have become exquisite observers of others' behavior and successful word learners. But do they coordinate their early observational and language capacities to gain insight into the intentions of others? Building upon Gergely, Bekkering, and Király’s (2002) classic head-touch phenomenon, we consider the contribution of language to 14-month-old infants' imitation of an unconventional behavior (turning on a light with one’s forehead, rather than hand). Providing a novel word (“I’m going to blick the light!”) prompted infants to imitate; simply drawing attention to the action (“Look at this!”; “Look at what I’m doing!”) did not. Thus, by 14 months, infants gain insight into the intentions of others by considering not only what we do but also what we say. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
We investigated links between persuasive behavior and theory of mind (ToM) understanding using a novel naturalistic peer persuasion task in which children were invited to convince an interactive puppet to eat raw broccoli or brush his teeth. Sixty-three 3- to 8-year-olds (M age = 6 years, 6 months) took part in the persuasion task and were also given a battery of first-order and advanced false belief tests. As predicted, the number of independent persuasive arguments children produced was significantly associated with false belief scores, even after controlling for age and verbal ability. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Adolescents' emotional reactivity in family, close friendships, and romantic relationships was examined in a community-based sample of 416 two-parent families. Six waves of annual data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Emotional reactivity to interparental conflict during early adolescence was associated prospectively with adolescents' reactivity to conflict in friendships and romantic relationships during middle adolescence. Close friendship reactivity partially explained the prospective association between reactivity to interparental conflict and romantic relationship reactivity. The association between perceived emotional reactivity and relationship conflict was stronger for girls than boys. Results have important developmental implications regarding adolescents' emotional reactivity across salient interpersonal contexts during adolescence. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
The present cross-sectional study investigated age and gender differences in motivational manifestations of the Big Five in a large German-speaking Internet sample (N = 19,022). Participants ranging in age from 16 to 60 years completed the Five Individual Reaction Norms Inventory (FIRNI; Denissen & Penke, 2008a), and two traditional Big Five measures. Age differences were found suggesting that mean levels of neuroticism and extraversion are negatively associated with age, whereas agreeableness and conscientiousness are positively associated. Openness to experience demonstrated a curvilinear association with age, with the highest mean levels in midlife. Gender differences were found suggesting that women, on average, have higher levels of neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness, while men are more open to experience. Neither the main effect of gender nor Age × Gender interactions were significant in the case of conscientiousness. In comparison to the 2 traditional Big Five measures, age differences in the motivational manifestations of the Big Five as assessed by the FIRNI were more pronounced, which might be explained by the greater developmental plasticity of flexible motivational processes or the intraindividual phrasing of the items of the FIRNI, compared to the kinds of behavioral descriptions that are emphasized in traditional Big Five items. The further study of such motivational processes might contribute to a better understanding of personality development. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).