Antecedents of mirror self-recognition of toddlers: Emotional availability, birth order, and gender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study employed a longitudinal design for examining the role of emotional availability of child-mother dyads, birth order of children, and their gender as determinants of mirror self-recognition of toddlers. It was hypothesized that toddlers who maintained more optimal emotional availability with mother at the age of 12 months would tend to identify themselves more readily at the age of 20 months. We assumed further that first-born children and females would identify themselves more readily than males and younger siblings. A sample of 54 nonrisk children and their mothers was investigated. Path analysis model showed that emotional availability partly predicted self-recognition: responsive toddlers identified themselves more often than less responsive peers. No significant effects were found for the other scales of emotional availability. A nonlinear birth order effect was observed, with second-born children being less likely to show mirror self-recognition than first-borns or third-borns. Child gender was not significantly associated with self-recognition at the age of 20 months. The data showed further that birth order was significantly linked with components of emotional availability. No significant correlations were found between emotional availability scores and child gender. Results were discussed in light of the different components of emotional availability, and the psychological correlates of ordinal position in the family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-309
Number of pages17
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Antecedents of mirror self-recognition of toddlers: Emotional availability, birth order, and gender'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this