The dual viewpoints of mother and child on their relationship: A longitudinal study of interaction and representation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Abstract: This chapter addresses behavioral and representational facets of the mother–child emotional tie at two developmental periods: towards the end of infancy and towards school entry. Using data from a longitudinal study with low-risk mothers and infants (Scher, 1991), we examined the predictive validity of mothers' sensitivity when playing with their 12-month-olds to parenting representations at age six years. The Attachment Story Completion Task (Bretherton, Ridgeway, & Cassidy, 1990) was administered to 42 children; their mothers (n = 26) participated in the Parent Development Interview (Aber et al., 1985). It was found that high maternal sensitivity during infancy was a precursor of mother's representations of her parenting competency, provision of secure base, and low levels of negative emotionality. Higher levels of negative emotionality, described by the mothers, correlated concurrently with more negative representations of the maternal figure in the narratives of the children. Mothers' sensitivity to the child's feelings correlated with more frequent representations of the mother as a protective figure in the children's stories. The links over time and across domains and perspectives are considered within the frameworks of attachment theory and psychoanalytic approaches, The study of parenting is a fast-growing field that has yielded a comprehensive body of knowledge, with diverse perspectives (see Bornstein, 2002). Yet many questions remain unanswered on the interplay between the behavioral and representational levels in parent–child relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParenting Representations
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Research, and Clinical Implications
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherCambridge Scholars Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780511499869
ISBN (Print)0521828872, 9780521828871
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Ofra Mayseless 2006 and Cambridge University Press 2009.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)


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