Correspondence between mothers' self-reported and observed child-rearing practices

Child Dev. 1989 Feb;60(1):56-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1989.tb02694.x.


The correspondence between self-reported child-rearing attitudes and practices and actual child management was examined among 68 mothers of young children. Data on mothers' verbal and physical control techniques along with children's responses (cooperation vs. resistance) were obtained during 90 min of spontaneous interaction in a naturalistic setting. Self-report data (the Block Q-Sort) were obtained 1-2 weeks later. The Block Q-Sort factors were combined to represent authoritarian and authoritative patterns of attitudes. The authoritarian pattern was positively associated with the use of direct commands, physical enforcements, reprimands, and prohibitive interventions, and negatively associated with the use of suggestions. The authoritative pattern was positively related to the use of suggestions and positive incentives, and negatively related to the use of physical enforcements, prohibitive interventions, and direct commands. Mothers' enjoyment of the parental role and their negative affect toward the child, as expressed in the Block Q-Sort, were more a result of the child's cooperation/resistance during the interaction than predictors of maternal control strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Child Rearing*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Social Values*