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The accuracy of parental recall of aspects of child development and of child rearing practices

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... These results obtained by retrospective interview are in very good accord with the earlier diary study (see Figure 1) and suggest that the answers provided by the mothers are a fairly accurate reflection ofthe actual experience. Robbins (1963) has shown that mothers of 3-yearolds err only slightly in their recall of the age at which early night feeds ceased, and similarly are 80% accurate when recalling sleeping patterns at the age of 6 months. Again, it is clear there is an earlier cessation of night feeds in the bottle feeding infants as compared with the breast feeding group. ...
... There are obvious methodological objections to retrospective interviews, however Blurton-Jones et al. (1978) argue that the interview technique can provide accurate information about duration of breast feeding and night waking. Furthermore, although Robbins (1963) found discrepancies between parental recall of developmental milestones and earlier diary record, these were often in a direction closer to expert opinion about what parents should do. As there is no suggestion of differential discrepancies for breast and bottle feeding mothers, this effect would tend to minimize any differences in the present study between breast and bottle fed infants. ...
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Summary The mothers of 180 preschool children were interviewed in their homes in a survey of feeding preferences and sleeping behaviour. We report here on the differences in current sleeping patterns and the age at which night feeds were dropped. There are clear differences in these two behaviours according to whether the baby was breast or bottle fed, and this result is not explicable in terms of social class. Night feeds disappear more slowly in the breast fed infant, and the problem of night waking both in the first year of life and when at nursery school appears to be associated with earlier breast feeding. The importance of such a finding is discussed in relation to the advice offered to mothers by health professionals.
... Furthermore, because data for the FCP were collected separately from each individual, parent and child measures were more independent of each other than is typically the case when parents provide data for both themselves and their children. Nonindependence of data has been a major concern in much of the literature on parental and peer modeling effects (Lau et al., 1990;Robins, 1963;Yarrow, Campbell, & Burton, 1968), raising the possibility of obtaining inflated correlations, such as when mothers underreport their own and their children's television exposure (Greenberg, Ericson, & Vlahos, 1972). ...
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Using both cross-sectional and longitudinal data spanning a decade, this article analyzes how dietary behavior of household children and adults (N = 576 households) was affected by the Stanford Five-City Project (FCP). Tests of a three-part, cumulative model of bidirectional influences within the family, which conceptualizes household members as sources of influence on each other and subject to influence by an external agent, were supported. Children and adults were influenced by both each other and the FCP campaign in changing and maintaining health behaviors. This article demonstrates that public health campaigns can be made more effective if they conceptualize both children and adults as potential sources of influence. The long-term effectiveness of such efforts can be enhanced by encouraging families, as opposed to individuals, to change health behaviors.
... Whether parent report can be used to assess BI or whether laboratory-based assessment is necessary has generated debate (e.g., Kagan, 1992). Those who argue against the use of parent report as an indicator of BI claim that parents may not be aware of much of their child's behavior unless it concerns highly salient events or interactions (Maccoby & Martin, 1983) and that parent report may be influenced by inaccurate recall or memory bias (Robins, 1963). However, many of the reported correlations between maternal report (maternal Q-Sort and interview) and behavioral and physiological measures of inhibition are relatively high. ...
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Reliability and validity of parent and teacher report of behavioral inhibition (BI) was examined among children aged 3 to 5 years. Confirmatory factor analysis supported 6 correlated factors reflecting specific BI contexts, each loading on a single, higher order factor of BI. Internal consistency was acceptable, with moderate stability over 1 year and strong correlation with a brief inhibition subscale from a temperament questionnaire. Children who were rated by mothers and teachers as high BI took longer to initiate contact with a stranger, spoke less often and for shorter periods, and required more prompting to elicit speech compared with low-BI peers in a simulated stranger interaction task. Father report of BI was significantly associated with mean duration of speech and eye gaze.
... Research (e.g., Bullis et al., 1994) indicates that while parents provide less accurate information on details (e.g., hourly wages), they are good respondents for macroevents about their sons and daughters (e.g., employment), as reflected in high levels of agreement among parents, students, and teachers for macro-events and factual information. Moreover, parents can accurately recall and report factual information about their children for several years with the highest rates of accuracy occurring for up to 2 years (Robbins, 1963). The variables investigated in this study were largely factual (e.g., parent report of student mobility) or the perceptions of respondents (e.g., parent report of student interactions with peers), and the time frame for recalling information for data collected in each wave was no more than 1 to 2 years. ...
... Yet, it is usually the mothers who are studied with methods that rely heavily on retrospective self-reports. Such data often reflect the prevailing societal views about parenting practices rather than the actual practices used (Robins, 1963 ). Lumping interfamilial diversity , intrafamilial diversity, and interdomain diversity in gender socialization into a homogeneous conglomerate can spawn a lot of misleading conclusions. ...
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Human differentiation on the basis of gender is a fundamental phenomenon that affects virtually every aspect of people's daily lives. This article presents the social cognitive theory of gender role development and functioning. It specifies how gender conceptions are constructed from the complex mix of experiences and how they operate in concert with motivational and self-regulatory mechanisms to guide gender-linked conduct throughout the life course. The theory integrates psychological and sociostructural determinants within a unified conceptual structure. In this theoretical perspective, gender conceptions and roles are the product of a broad network of social influences operating interdependently in a variety of societal subsystems. Human evolution provides bodily structures and biological potentialities that permit a range of possibilities rather than dictate a fixed type of gender differentiation. People contribute to their self-development and bring about social changes that define and structure gender relationships through their agentic actions within the interrelated systems of influence.
... Self-reports provide a cost±e€ective method to assess the typical parenting practices for pinpointing critical parent behaviors for treatment and for assessing treatment outcome. Unfortunately, self-report measures of disciplinary events may be ¯awed, perhaps because parents' reports of Ð or reaction to Ð their children's behavior are inaccurate ( Robins, 1963;Reid et al., 1987), or perhaps because of systematic bias ( Clement and Milne, 1967;Schnelle, 1974;Humphreys and Ciminero, 1979). Instruments that attempt to measure the frequency or harshness of parental discipline ( Gordon et al., 1979;Trickett and Susman, 1988) may fail to describe the range of disciplinèmistakes' such as laxness or inconsistency ( McCord et al., 1961;Patterson, 1976Patterson, , 1982). ...
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The psychometric properties of the Parenting Scale (Arnold, O'Leary, Wolff, and Acker, 1993), a 30-item instrument originally developed to assess the discipline practices of parents of preschool children, were examined for parents of middle school students. Subjects were 298 parents of middle school student identified as at-risk for problem behavior. An exploratory factor analysis identified two factors labeled 'Overreactivity' and 'Laxness', closely resembling two of the factors found by Arnold et al., but each of these factors contained only six items. Confirmatory factor analyses, using data from the first two assessments, replicated this factor structure. The factors were significantly correlated with measures of parents' behavior, with scales from the child Behavior Checklist and Parent Daily Reports, and with the Beck Depression Inventory. The Laxness factor was less robust than the Overreactivity factor.
... Research (e.g., Bullis et al., 1994) indicates that while parents provide less accurate information on details (e.g., hourly wages), they are good respondents for macroevents about their sons and daughters (e.g., employment), as reflected in high levels of agreement among parents, students, and teachers for macro-events and factual information. Moreover, parents can accurately recall and report factual information about their children for several years with the highest rates of accuracy occurring for up to 2 years (Robbins, 1963). The variables investigated in this study were largely factual (e.g., parent report of student mobility) or the perceptions of respondents (e.g., parent report of student interactions with peers), and the time frame for recalling information for data collected in each wave was no more than 1 to 2 years. ...
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Disciplinary exclusion practices are on the rise nationally, as are concerns about their disproportionate use and lack of effectiveness. This study used data from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study to examine patterns and predictors of disciplinary exclusion over time. Students with emotional/behavioral disorders were most likely to be excluded and be excluded multiple times, followed by students with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and students with learning disabilities. For all student groups, being excluded in the first wave was a strong predictor of being excluded at later points in time. Student gender (male students) and ethnicity (African American students) were associated with a greater probability of exclusion over time. Students with higher social skills, as reported by teachers, had a lower probability of being excluded over time. Implications for practice, policy, and future research are discussed.
... On the down-side, however, parents' selfreports may be distorted by "the intrusion of non-focal personal characteristics via mechanisms of self-deception, self-defense, and impression management" (Messick, 1983, p. 487). Furthermore, parents may not even be aware of much of their behavior, unless it concerns highly salient events or interactions (Maccoby & Martin, 1983), and of course, it has been reported that parents' memories are faulty and cannot be relied upon when retrospection is required (Robins, 1963). And then there is the problem of the verbal report-observed behavior disconnection. ...
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To some, the study of parental beliefs, ideas, or cognitions represents little more than researchers' recent attempts to join a revivalist movement. Early in the study of child development, and especially in the 1950s, it was common procedure to interview parents or to provide them with questionnaires in order to discover information about socialization practices, parent-child relationships, and the home environment (e.g., Dameron, 1955; Miller & Swanson, 1958; Sears, Maccoby, & Levin, 1957; Stolz, 1967). The advantages of these procedures were obvious. Parents know their children and how they think about and interact with them better than anyone else. Their knowledge bases cut both across time and across social contexts. On the downside, however, parents' self-reports may be distorted by "the intrusion of nonfocal personal characteristics via mechanisms of self-deception, self-defense, and impression management" ( Messick, 1983, p. 487). Furthermore, parents may not even be aware of much of their behavior, unless it concerns highly salient events or interactions ( Maccoby & Martin , 1983), and, of course, it has been reported that parents' memories are faulty and cannot be relied on when retrospection is required ( Robins, 1963). And then there is the problem of the verbal report-observed behavior disconnection. Correlations between what parents report that they do with their children and what observers report that parents do with their children are in the miniscule-to-moderate range ( Miller, 1988). Given these latter problems, it is not surprising that graduate students in the 1960s and 1970s were being warned against interviewing or questioning parents. What is surprising is that many of those warned have become revivalists. Did we not learn our lessons well?
... Studies in this area have therefore asked subjects for long-term retrospective reports about various aspects of their marriages and then related these data to global ratings or categorical indices of marital adjustment. While global indices of marital adjustment are stable over time (Orden & Bradburn, 1968), several methodological studies have raised questions about the accuracy of retrospective data (Robins, 1963;Wenar & Coulter, 1962), the convergent validity of self-report measures of marital interaction (Olsen, 1969;Weller & Luchterhand, 1969), and the construct validity of current measures of marital satisfaction (Edmonds, Withers, & Dibatista, 1972). Such studies have raised the question of whether relationships between marital interaction and marital adjustment are being obscured by the longterm retrospective reports and global indices of satisfaction used in many studies. ...
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Tested hypotheses about the determinants of global ratings of marital satisfaction, the role of reciprocity in marital interaction, and the influence of external experiences on the marital relationship. 7 nondistressed married couples made daily observations of their spouse's pleasurable and displeasurable behavior for 14 consecutive days and daily ratings of the enjoyability of their outside experiences and of their satisfaction with the relationship. Multiple regression analysis, with satisfaction ratings as the criterion variable, showed that both types of displeasurable behavior contributed to rated satisfaction, accounting together for 65% of the explainable variance. For pleasurable behaviors, a sex difference was noted, with males emphasizing pleasurable instrumental behaviors from their spouses and females emphasizing pleasurable affectional behavior. The immediate tendency to reciprocate displeasurable behaviors was stronger than that for pleasurable behaviors. The influence of external experiences was negligible. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
... Similarly, theorists and researchers from a variety of perspectives propose that better adult relationships can be traced to the quality of the parentchild relationship, especially in the early years of life (e.g., Ainsworth, 1989;Bowlby, 1969;Erikson, 1963;Freud, 1949;Hartup, 1989;Hazan & Shaver, 1987;Kohut, 1977;Mahler & McDevitt, 1980;Mitchell, 1988;Sroufe, 1989;Sroufe & Fleeson, 1986;Sullivan, 1953). Freud saw the mother-child dyad as most critical, 1988;McCrae & Costa, 1988;Robins, 1963;Ross & Conway, 1986); one solution is to design prospective studies. In the present study, this difficulty was easily handled because data regarding child-rearing practices were obtained from the mother of each subject when he or she was 5 years old. ...
Article
In a 36-yr prospective study of the children of the R. R. Sears et al (1957) Patterns of Child Rearing sample, the relationship was examined between mothers' childrearing practices when the child was age 5 yrs, other childhood experiences, and conventional social accomplishment at age 41 yrs. Having a warm and affectionate father or mother was significantly associated with adult social accomplishment—operationalized as having a long, happy marriage, children, and relationships with close friends at midlife (G. E. Vaillant, 1977). Ss who were more socially accomplished at age 41 yrs were significantly more likely to engage in affiliative behaviors and to report good relationships with significant others. They also reported higher levels of generativity, work accomplishment, and psychological well-being; lower levels of strain; and less use of emotion-focused coping styles. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This study was part of a project concerned with speech and language disorders among child psychiatric inpatients. Twenty-two consecutively admitted children were screened and 10 were positive. Of these, nine were diagnosed with a speech or language delay, prevalence = 40.9 (9 of 22). A chart review of the preceding 2-year period showed that 27 of 128 admissions had been referred to the speech clinic and that 25 had positive findings, for a prevalence of 19.5% (25 of 128). The difference in the observed prevalence in these two studies was significant (chi 2 = 4.89, rho = .03). Standard clinical practice may miss some children with communication disorders (estimated sensitivity = 39%), while the new screening method shows promise (estimated sensitivity = 82%).
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This article examines the reciprocal relationships between parental disciplinary practices and child emotion regulation in the first 3 years of life. Using three‐wave cross‐lagged panel models, more salient effects are found from parent to child than from child to parent at the very first stage. The stronger parent–child effects hold for both corrective and harsh disciplinary practices. Furthermore, the results indicate significant gender differences in the bidirectionality across time: for girls a parent–child–parent association is found in which corrective discipline significantly predicts child emotion regulation and child emotion regulation in turn predicts corrective discipline, whereas for boys, only a child–parent link emerges such that emotion regulation at time 2 is associated with corrective discipline at time 3. These findings portray the early transactional characteristics of parental disciplinary action and child emotion development as well as the gender‐differentiated effects in reciprocity.
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Social environmental variables differentiating maladapting children from matched controls in four inner-city elementary schools were investigated. Teacher selection was used to identify the maladapting children. Identified maladapting children were more likely to have been on welfare and to have experienced significantly more stressful life events during the previous year than the matched control children. The maladapting group was subdivided into welfare and non-welfare groups. Comparisons between groups on the life stress event measures indicated that the nonwelfare maladapting group experienced more life events than either the nonwelfare controls or the maladapting welfare children. The measures of life events correlated with parent ratings of behavior problems for the nonwelfare maladapting group but not for the welfare maladapting or the control groups.
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Empirical research on memory can be used to help understand how people can fail for long periods of time to rcmember painful, dramatic childhood events. For example, research has identified the importance of rehearsal and retelling for strcngthcning the sense of reality that some memories have.l This frnding has importance for understanding the haziness and unreality peoplc have for memories of events that were unmentionablc and never spoken. As children they may have wondered if something was a truly private event as in a dream or fantasy, or if the event did occur in reality with a person they knew and saw daily but who never spoke of it. Research has also found that parental recall of child-rearing practices is inaccurate and the errors are not random. In general parents describe a course of development that is much smoothcr than it was and remember child-rearing practices that were more in keeping with expert opinion than reality (Robbins 1963). Unfortunately there has been liule collaboration between the two cultures-that of the laboratory and rClinicians intcrested in rcvicwing thc psychology of mcmory arc rcfcrred to Baddctcy (1990), Rose (1992), and Grossmar and Prarlcy (199{). I am indcbtcd to Bill Hirrt and Cathcrinc and Stcve Hanson for tcaching me about thir pcnpcctivc,
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From a relatively large group-particularly in view of the statistical methods used-of N=153 mothers the following information could be obtained:1. The validity of anamnestic data concerning the birth weight can be regarded as sufficiently high (r=0.87) even after a period of 6 to 7 years. 2. The consistency (reliability) of anamnestic data concerning the age at which the child started to walk without assistance, to talk in three-word-sentences, and to obtain complete control over bladder and bowel movements cannot be regarded as completely satisfactory, since the data obtained from the mothers showed considerable variation even after a short period of time (2 to 3 years) (r=0.71; r=0.69; r=0.66). 3. An attempt to establish whether there was a general preferential tendency to state either too high or too low a birth weight failed. 4. Mothers whose children had an abnormal birth weight made-contrary to our assumptions-no more precise statements on the birth weight than did mothers of children of normal weight.
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Human differentiation on the basis of gender is a fundamental phenomenon that affects virtually every aspect of people's daily lives. This article presents the social cognitive theory of gender-role development and functioning. It specifies how gender conceptions are constructed from the complex mix of experiences and how they operate in concert with motivational and self-regulatory mechanisms to guide gender-linked conduct throughout the life course. The theory integrates psychological and sociostructural determinants within a unified conceptual structure. In this theoretical perspective, gender conceptions and roles are the product of a broad network of social influences operating interdependently in a variety of societal subsystems. Human evolution provides bodily structures and biological potentialities that permit a range of possibilities rather than dictate a fixed type of gender differentiation. People contribute to their self-development and bring about social changes that define and structure gender relationships through their agentic actions within the interrelated systems of influence.
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Since Kanner’s (1943) description of the autistic syndrome, issues of classification of this, and related disorders, have been closely related to changing conceptions of etiology and core disturbances. In many ways, the history of diagnostic concepts and systems for these disorders is also a history of the field of developmental psychopathology. False leads for research and productive areas of current controversy are a testament both to our progress in understanding these disorders and areas in which knowledge remains quite limited. This chapter provides a review of historical and contemporary approaches to the classification of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD).
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Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADD/H) is a diagnosis used to describe children who have difficulties complying in an age-appropriate fashion with situational demands for restrained activity, sustained attention, and inhibition of impulsive responding. This disorder has generated a great deal of interest over the past several years, justified in part by the high prevalence rates (3%–15%) among schoolage children (e.g., Bosco & Robin, 1980; Sandoval, Lambert, & Sassone, 1980). Initially ADD/H was believed to be restricted to prepubescent children (e.g., Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Office of Child Development, 1971; Laufer & Denhoff, 1957; Morrison & Minkoff, 1975; Shelly & Reister, 1972). Lauf er and Denhoff (1957), for example, argued that “in later years this syndrome tends to wane spontaneously and disappear. We have not seen it persist in those patients whom we have followed to adult life” (p. 470).
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The retrospective assessment of adverse childhood experiences is a widely used technique. Few studies report heterogeneous results about the reliability and objectivity. A sample of 100 patients was independently interviewed by means of the Mainz Structured Biographical Interview by two different interviewers with mean time lag of 2.2 years. Reliability of reports of family situation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and protective factors was assessed. The results show moderate to good reliability for most childhood experiences. Divorce/separation of parents had a kappa of .95, severe sexual abuse a kappa of .64, and regular harsh physical abuse a kappa of .56; protective factors were in the .50 range. The key features for obtaining good reliability seem to be the concreteness of the question and accuracy of the coding categories. There is some, but little, evidence that sensitive issues such as sexual abuse are more prone to errors in assessment than simple ones.
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