Merill-Palmer Quarterly

Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Volume 49, Number 2, April 2003


    Krettenauer, Tobias.
    Ullrich, Manuela.
    Hofmann, Volker.
    Edelstein, Wolfgang, 1929-
  • Behavioral Problems in Childhood and Adolescence as Predictors of Ego-Level Attainment in Early Adulthood
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    Subject Headings:
    • Behavior disorders in children.
    • Ego (Psychology) in adolescence.
      The study examines how externalizing as well as internalizing behavioral problems in childhood and adolescence predict young adults' personalities as represented by Loevinger's (1976) model of ego development. The sample consisted of 103 individuals studied longitudinally from ages 7 to 22. Behavioral problems were measured by teacher ratings at ages 9, 12 and 15, whereas ego-level was assessed once at age 22. Overall, both kinds of behavioral problems were substantially associated with ego-level attainment at age 22, even when gender, SES and level of education were controlled. Externalizing problems specifically predicted ego-level attainment below conformity (≤ E3). By contrast, internalizing problems were related particularly to difficulties in attaining ego-levels above conformity (≥ E6). The study demonstrates that behavioral problems in childhood and adolescence predict young adults' ego-level attainment in unique and meaningful ways.
    Diener, Marissa L.
    Casady, M. Angela.
    Wright, Cheryl.
  • Attachment Security Among Mothers and Their Young Children Living in Poverty: Associations with Maternal, Child, and Contextual Characteristics
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    Subject Headings:
    • Attachment behavior in children -- Economic aspects.
    • Security (Psychology) in children -- Economic aspects.
    • Poverty -- Psychological aspects.
    • Context effects (Psychology) in children.
      In order to extend previous research and inform intervention programs, the goal of the present study was to further understand variability in mother-child attachment security among high-risk families living in poverty. Mothers (65% Hispanic) and their young children who were in a home visitor program (n= 74) to connect families with basic services or who were on the waiting list (n= 27) for the program were visited at home. Mothers completed the Attachment Q-Set, the Parenting Stress Index, and a questionnaire on beliefs about the role of play in children's development and parenting efficacy in either Spanish or English. Observers assessed maternal sensitivity and the presence of appropriate play materials. Results indicated that maternal, child, and contextual variables were significantly associated with attachment security. Furthermore, greater cumulative assets were related to more secure attachment relationships.
    Howe, Nina.
    Fiorentino, Lisa M.
    Gariépy, Nadine.
  • Sibling Conflict in Middle Childhood: Influence of Maternal Context and Mother-Sibling Interaction over Four Years
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    Subject Headings:
    • Conflict (Psychology) in children.
    • Brothers and sisters.
    • Mother and child.
    • Context effects (Psychology) in children.
      Two issues relevant to relationships models of development were investigated: (1) the influence of maternal context (present, absent) on frequency and types of conflicts of 24 sibling dyads in middle childhood and (2) the stability of maternal and sibling interaction over four years. Maternal presence depressed conflict frequency and aggression; in maternal absence, siblings disagreed about abstract (i.e., procedures/play plans) and concrete (i.e., object) issues and used relatively sophisticated resolutions. Longitudinal findings revealed that earlier patterns of family interaction were related to later indices of sibling conflict and maternal interaction. Specifically, (1) earlier rates of sibling play and hostile interaction were related to sibling conflicts, (2) greater maternal interaction was associated with later sibling conflict, and (3) greater sibling interaction was related to less maternal interaction over time. Findings are discussed in light of recent literature on sibling conflict and the development of social understanding within the context of close relationships.
    Smetana, Judith G., 1951-
    Campione-Barr, Nicole.
    Yell, Nicole.
  • Children's Moral and Affective Judgments Regarding Provocation and Retaliation
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    Subject Headings:
    • Judgment in children.
    • Emotions in children.
      Moral judgments, attributions of emotion, and their associations were examined in hypothetical, prototypical situations and situations of provocation and peer retaliation. Eighty-one school-age children, 46 kindergartners and first graders and 35 2nd-4th graders, judged prototypical and provoked moral transgressions (hitting and teasing). Children judged hypothetical moral transgressions to be more serious and more deserving of punishment, and they reasoned more about concerns with others' welfare, for prototypical than for provoked transgressions and when retaliation involved hitting rather than teasing. Children's moral condemnation of provocation increased with age. Across conditions, children attributed greater happiness to transgressors than to victims; "happy victimizer" responses decreased with age for prototypical but not for provoked transgressions. Moreover, retaliators were seen as both happier and angrier than their victims. Anger increased and sadness decreased with age, but children's emotion attributions were not associated with their moral judgments about either prototypical or provoked transgressions.

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