Parent-infant interaction in families on israeli kibbutzim

Abraham Sagi, Ronit Shoham, Rachel Dvir, Michael E. Lamb, Kathleen S. Lewkowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thirty-eight first-born kibbutz-reared infants and their parents were observed in the parents' living quarters when the infants were 8 and 16 months of age. Although childcare was the primary responsibility of nonparental caretakers (metaplot) rather than either parent, sex differences in parental behavior similar to those observed in the US and Sweden were found. As in these countries, kibbutz mothers were more likely to vocalize, laugh, display affection, hold, and engage in caretaking than fathers were. This suggests that immediate competing demands on the parents' time do not account for the widely-observed sex differences in parental behavior. Whereas American infants (especially boys) develop preferences on attachment behavior measures for the same sex parent and Swedish infants develop preferences for their mothers, these kibbutz infants showed no preferences for either parent, suggesting that the relatively similar involvement of mothers and fathers in childcare in the kibbutz context may counteract the tendency to form preferential relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-284
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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