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Reciprocal Influence in the Social Interactions of Mothers and Three-Year-Old Children from Different Socioeconomic Backgrounds

Dale C. Farran and Ron Haskins
Child Development
Vol. 51, No. 3 (Sep., 1980), pp. 780-791
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129465
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129465
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Reciprocal Influence in the Social Interactions of Mothers and Three-Year-Old Children from Different Socioeconomic Backgrounds
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Abstract

Reciprocity in social interactions between mothers and their 3-year-old children was assessed in 51 mother-child dyads during a 20-min free-play laboratory observation. These dyads were from 2 socioeconomic groups differing in income, education, and occupation. Summary scores of behaviors exhibited during the session indicated that middle-income dyads spent twice as much time in mutual play as low-income dyads; low-income mothers spent more time reading to themselves, and their children were more often in independent play or no clear activity. This study did not support previous work showing low-income mothers to be more controlling than middle-income mothers. A series of profile analyses using conditional probabilities indicated nearly identical dyadic processes in both groups of mothers and children. Controlling and interactive behaviors of mothers were found to be inextricably linked to the presenting behaviors of children for both groups. Socioeconomic background had the effect of altering the quantity of certain behaviors but not fundamentally changing the pattern of mother-child interactions.

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