Mothers' representations of caregiving and their adult children's representations of attachment: intergenerational concordance and relations to beliefs about mothering

Hans Bengtsson, Elia Psouni

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Mothers (N= 35) and their adult children completed questionnaires and were interviewed in order to examine relationships between mothers' caregiving representations and their adult children's attachment representations, and relationships between attachment/caregiving representations and beliefs about mothering. Mothers' and their children's accounts of and present thinking about their past relationship were highly similar, indicating that the two parts develop concordant states of mind regarding their relationship. In contrast, there was no relationship between mothers' and their adult children's beliefs about mothering, suggesting that such beliefs are not simply passed on from generation to generation within families. Attachment/caregiving classification interacted with generation in influencing a belief that biological facts determine maternal behavior, young adults with preoccupied attachment being particularly prone to reject this idea. Attachment/caregiving classification also had a significant effect on participants' tendency to adhere to an idealized conception of mothering, this tendency being associated with a dismissive attachment/caregiving representation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)247-57
    Number of pages190
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
    Volume49
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Psychology (501)
    • Social Sciences (5)

    Keywords

    • Caregivers
    • adult attachment
    • motherhood
    • parent-child relations
    • parental beliefs
    • transgenerational patterns

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