The association of maternal socialization in childhood and adolescence with adult offsprings' sympathy/caring

Dev Psychol. 2015 Jan;51(1):7-16. doi: 10.1037/a0038137. Epub 2014 Nov 10.


The purpose of the study was to examine associations between mothers' socialization practices in childhood and adolescence and offsprings' (N = 32, 16 female) sympathy/concern in early adulthood. Mothers reported on their socialization practices and beliefs a total of 6 times using a Q-sort during their offsprings' childhood (between 7-8 and 11-12 years of age) and adolescence (between 13-14 and 17-18 years of age). Adult offsprings' sympathy/caring was assessed 3 times in early adulthood (at ages 19-20 to 23-24 years) and in their mid-20s to 30s (ages 25-26 to 31-32 years). In general, friends' reports of participants' sympathy/concern at ages 25-32 years related positively to mother-reported rational discipline (including inductions) and warmth and support during childhood and adolescence and negatively to mother-reported negative affect during adolescence. Self-reported sympathy/concern during early adulthood was positively related to maternal warmth and support during childhood and almost significantly negatively related to mother-reported negative affect during childhood and adolescence. Most of the relations held when the prior level of self-reported childhood empathy or adolescent sympathy was controlled.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adult Children / psychology*
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Emotions
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Mother-Child Relations* / psychology
  • Personality Development*
  • Q-Sort
  • Self Report
  • Socialization*
  • Young Adult