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Parents' Ideas, Actions, and Feelings: Models and Methods from Developmental and Social Psychology

Jacqueline J. Goodnow
Child Development
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Apr., 1988), pp. 286-320
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130312
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130312
Page Count: 35
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Parents' Ideas, Actions, and Feelings: Models and Methods from Developmental and Social Psychology
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Abstract

Research on parents' ideas has been described as flourishing but relatively atheoretical, and as in need of closer attention to possible methods. To help meet these problems, this review draws together research by developmentalists on parents' ideas about parenting and development, and research in social psychology on attitudes, schemas, and social categorization. The review notes first the presence of a common topic-"social cognition"-and some common features to the history of research by developmental and social psychologists on that topic. It proceeds to outline developmental and social approaches to common issues: the likelihood of change vs. perseverance in ideas; the sources of ideas (constructions from individual experience vs. cultural scripts); links between ideas and actions; links between ideas and feelings; and the impact of one generation's ideas upon the development of the next. For each of these issues, the aim is to demonstrate how models and methods in social psychology can be used to benefit research on parents' ideas. For research on parents, the general argument is that the critical steps in any analysis of ideas and their interactions with actions, feelings, or outcomes are the explicit statement and development of hypotheses and the search for promising methods to accompany them. For developmental psychology in general, the review is offered as an example of the benefits to drawing from fields such as social psychology, and as a filtered introduction to some relevant but often unfamiliar material.

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