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Self-Perception, Motivation, and Social Support through the Family Life Course

Lois M. Tamir and Toni C. Antonucci
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 43, No. 1 (Feb., 1981), pp. 151-160
DOI: 10.2307/351425
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351425
Page Count: 10
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Self-Perception, Motivation, and Social Support through the Family Life Course
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Abstract

National survey data collected in 1976 were utilized to measure differences in self-perception, motivation, and social support through seven stages of the family life cycle, ranging from single unmarried adults to parents of children over 17 years of age. In the area of self-perception, there were no significant interactions between sex and family stage, but significant differences between the family life stages for both men and women were found to exist: In general, parents of young children displayed higher scores, while parents of adolescents displayed lower scores. In the area of motivation, only parents of adolescents displayed significant sex differences: Men became more affiliative, women more achievement oriented. Finally, in the area of social support, parallel national survey data from both 1957 and 1976 revealed significant stage differences and no sex interactions: Adults at the earlier stages of the family cycle used social supports more frequently, but were less satisfied. It was concluded that the family life stage variable provides an important tool for measuring developmental change: In most cases, stages of family life are significantly associated with psychological and social change in adulthood, regardless of sex.

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