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Objective and Subjective Components in Mothers' Perceptions of Their Children from Age 6 Months to 3 Years

John E. Bates and Kathryn Bayles
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 30, No. 2, Invitational Issue: Advances in Temperament Research: Studies of Methods, Predictions, and Adjustment (April 1984), pp. 111-130
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23086228
Page Count: 20
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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.
Objective and Subjective Components in Mothers' Perceptions of Their Children from Age 6 Months to 3 Years
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Abstract

There has been considerable discussion in the literature about the meaning of parent reports of child characteristics, particularly in the area of temperament. Some have suggested that the reports are essentially reflections of the child's actual, objectifiable behavior; others, that they are essentially reflections of the parents' cognitive characteristics. In the most comprehensive way to date, the current study evaluated the model that parent reports consist of both objective and subjective factors. In the context of a longitudinal study, 27 different mother-report scales were collected at the ages 6, 13, 24, and 36 months. The scales measured various constructs of temperament, mother-child relationship, child competence, and problem behavior. Factor analysis of the scales indicated that mothers' perceptions of their children were differentiated in meaningful and consistent ways throughout the years. For example, the difficultness scales from different ages loaded on the same factor and were relatively distinct from other temperament scales. Large sets of bivariate and multivariate correlations between the mother-report scales and mother personality, family background, observational, and father-report variables led to the conclusion that there is robust support for the model that mother reports consist of both objective and subjective components.

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