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Development and Evaluation of the Adult Daughter-Mother Relationship Questionnaire (ADMRQ)


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The mother–daughter relationship is embedded in a rich cultural and social context and is critical for maintaining identity and mental health over women’s adult lives. This article describes the development and preliminary psychometric evaluation of the Adult Daughter–Mother Relationship Questionnaire (ADMRQ). Research was conducted in three phases: (1) summary statements about mother–daughter relationships were extracted from 48 mother–daughter in-depth interviews from a variety of ethnic groups. These formed a draft questionnaire; (2) this initial questionnaire was circulated to 10 psychotherapists to assess face and content validity; and (3) the questionnaire was completed by a sample of 147 students and community-dwelling women including a subsample of 34 women who were currently in psychotherapy. Exploratory factor analysis revealed three major factors in the ADMRQ accounting for 49.4% of the variance: both positive and negative affect, ambivalent feelings in the relationship, and interdependency relationships. Cronbach’s αs of additive scales ranged from .625 to .927. Test–retest reliability was established.
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Development and Evaluation of the Adult
Daughter–Mother Relationship
Questionnaire (ADMRQ)
Julie Cwikel
The mother–daughter relationship is embedded in a rich cultural and social context and is critical for maintaining identity and mental
health over women’s adult lives. This article describes the development and preliminary psychometric evaluation of the Adult
Daughter–Mother Relationship Questionnaire (ADMRQ). Research was conducted in three phases: (1) summary statements about
mother–daughter relationships were extracted from 48 mother–daughter in-depth interviews from a variety of ethnic groups. These
formed a draft questionnaire; (2) this initial questionnaire was circulated to 10 psychotherapists to assess face and content validity;
and (3) the questionnaire was completed by a sample of 147 students and community-dwelling women including a subsample of 34
women who were currently in psychotherapy. Exploratory factor analysis revealed three major factors in the ADMRQ accounting
for 49.4% of the variance: both positive and negative affect, ambivalent feelings in the relationship, and interdependency relationships.
Cronbach’s as of additive scales ranged from .625 to .927. Test–retest reliability was established.
affective relations, interdependency, assessment tools, relationships between mothers and adult daughters, factor analysis
There has been an upsurge in research relating to the mother–
daughter relationship including early books written for lay per-
sons (Friday, 1977; Hyman, 1981; Schaffer, 1977), burgeoning
into empirical research that began in the 1980s (Baruch &
Barnett, 1983; Blaxter & Patterson, 1982; Caplan & Hall-
McCorquodale, 1985; Menke, 1983; Notar & McDaniel,
1986). This trend continues to this day (Adams, 1995; Birditt
& Fingerman, 2013; Fingerman, 1996; A. Miller, 1995; J. B.
Miller & Stiver, 1997; Oberman & Josselson, 1996; Rich,
1995; Shrier, Tompsett, & Shrier, 2004; Suitor & Pillemer,
2006). The mother–daughter relationship has been found to
be a key resource critical in maintaining the mental health of
women over the life course into old age (Besser & Priel, 2005;
Birditt & Fingerman, 2013; Blaxter & Patterson, 1982; Fischer,
1981, 1986; McGraw & Walker, 2004; Miller-Day, 2004). The
mother–daughter relationship is often considered to be the tem-
plate by which to judge other parental relationships (mother–
son, father–daughter and son; Suitor & Pillemer, 2006). As
stated by Tannen (2006), ‘‘the relationship between mothers
and daughters is the literal ‘mother of all relationships’’ (p. 5).
However, this sweeping endorsement may not apply to all
families today, in which there may be only male offspring or
where a father (or fathers) is/are the primary caregiver(s).
The quality of the parent–child attachment is fundamental
to the development of the capacity for emotional regulation, a
sense of security and stability, the ability to work and to
establish intimate, and supportive relationships in adulthood
(Fonagy, 2008; Siegel & Hartzell, 2004). Even today, moth-
ers do the bulk of the caregiving in parenting and are the
primary caregiver of children over the life course (Besser &
Priel, 2005; Birditt & Fingerman, 2013; Miller-Day, 2004).
Given the centrality of the mother–daughter relationship in
the development of identity, self-esteem, and as a model for
how to perform as an adult and a parent, it is not surprising
that many women experience conflicts in the mother–daugh-
ter relationship (Adelson, 1998; Caplan & Hall-
McCorquodale, 1985; Fingerman, 1996; Friedman, 2001;
McGraw & Walker, 2004; J. B. Miller & Stiver, 1997; R.
Miller & Dwyer, 1997; Surrey, 1993). It is common for
conflicts in the mother–daughter relationship to be a central
issue that propels women to seek psychotherapy (Maushart,
1999; Surrey, 1993). Thus, a comprehensive assessment tool
of the mother–daughter relationship should have many appli-
cations in both the clinical and research realm.
The Spitzer Department of Social Work and The Center for Women’s Health
Studies and Promotion, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
Corresponding Author:
Julie Cwikel, The Spitzer Department of Social Work and The Center for
Women’s Health Studies and Promotion, Ben Gurion University of the Negev,
POB 653, Beer Sheva, 84105, Israel.
The Family Journal: Counseling and
Therapy for Couples and Families
ªThe Author(s) 2016
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/1066480716648701
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Assessment tools have been developed over the years to eval-
uate the parent–child relationship in general and the mother–
daughter relationship in particular. For example, the Adult
Attachment Interview (AAI) is a relationship assessment tool that
was developed by a group of researchers including Carol George,
Nancy Kaplan, and Mary Main in 1984 (1988, 1996) based on
attachment theory. They designed this interview-based instru-
ment to assess the adult’s capacity to recall their own childhood
experiences with their parents (Slade, 2005). The interview
takes 1 hr to administer, requires recording and transcription,
Attachment styles are designated as autonomous, dismissing,
preoccupied, and unresolved/disorganized (George et al.,
1984, 1988, 1996). For example, attachment styles as desig-
nated by the AAI of parents expecting their first child, proved a
valid way to predict the quality of the mother–child attachment
at age 1 (Fonagy, Steele, & Steele, 1991).
These early studies spawned theoretical and empirical work
on ‘‘mentalization’’ by psychoanalyst Peter Fonagy and col-
leagues; It’s defined as the adult capacity to understand the
thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of oneself and others, affect-
ing emotional regulation/dysregulation (Fonagy, 2008; Fonagy
et al., 1991). This capacity is the developmental basis for pro-
ductive and satisfying social relations, including parent–child
relations (Fonagy, 2008; Fonagy, Gergely, Jurist, & Target,
2002). Thus, attachment theory provides an explanation for why
early experiences profoundly affect the adult capacity to menta-
lize and understand the needs of the other, in this case, the
capacity to parent a dependent child. Those children who are
deprived of a secure attachment to a caring adult are at much
higher risk for a range of personality disorders and mental dis-
tress in adulthood (Fonagy et al., 2002), which can compromise
the capacity for the emotional regulation required in parenthood.
It is interesting to note that research on the long-term impact
of parental attachment styles tended to be based on samples of
mothers due to high prevalence of mothers as the primary
caregivers and the difficulty in recruiting fathers for research
(Costigan & Cox, 2001; Lamb, 2010). Limitations of the AAI
and it’s derivative assessment tool, the Parent Development
Interview (PDI; Slade, Aber, Bresgi, Berger, & Kaplan,
2004), are that they both are very labor intensive, require exten-
sive training in order to code reliably and interpret usefully, and
thus are expensive and time consuming to use in research. An
advantage of the AAI and PDI is that they closely conform to
clinical interviews, thus providing useful directions for further
work with dyads or triads in the clinical setting.
An early theory proposed and developed by Vern Bengston
and colleagues provided a framework for understanding inter-
generational relations and the role of conflict within this rela-
tionship (Bengtson, 2001; Bengtson, Giarrusso, Mabry, &
Silverstein, 2002; Bengtson & Schrader, 1982). This ‘‘interge-
nerational solidarity framework’’ posited three types of solidar-
ity: association, affection, and consensus tempered by three
contextual moderators: rate of intergenerational exchange;
norms of solidarity such as strength of obligation felt toward
family members; and familial structure such as physical
proximity, family size, or cohabitation patterns (Bengtson,
2001; Cooney & Dykstra, 2013). Thus, the strength and the
emotional valence of the mother–daughter relationship are both
considered key substrates upon which situational moderators
act in determining the quality of the interaction and the extent
of expressed solidarity. However, this intergenerational assess-
ment questionnaire runs to 45 pages and requires approxi-
mately 2 hr to complete (Mangen, 1988; Richards, Bengtson,
& Miller, 1989; Silverstein, Conroy, Wang, Giarrusso, &
Bengtson, 2002). Thus, while comprehensive and inclusive,
this instrument too is very time consuming and complicated
to use either in research or in the clinical setting.
Another instrument appearing often in psychiatric research
is the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) developed by Parker,
Tupling, and Brown, 1979. This self-report instrument of 25
questions represents two dimensions: high and low levels of
care and overprotection, which then yield four distinct parent-
ing styles, with the high care and low protection deemed as the
‘optimal parenting’’ style. Accumulated research shows that
the PBI quantifies adverse parenting styles, which were found
related to a wide variety of psychiatric disorders in adulthood
(Parker, 1990; Parker et al., 1999). However, the emphasis of
the PBI is on the pathological aspects of parenting rather than
on what works and is effective in building self-esteem and
adaptive adult functioning. It is, however, of reasonable length
for use in research and clinical work.
Rastogi developed a culturally sensitive Mother–Adult
Daughter Scale (MAD) for use in cross-cultural studies with
three subscales: connectedness, interdependence, and trust in
hierarchy (Rastogi, 2002; Rastogi & Wampler, 1999). However,
this measure assesses the mother–daughter relationship as it is
today, without including aspects of the mother–daughter rela-
tionship as it has developed over time. The connectedness sub-
scale reflects the frequency of contact, with some affective
measures but no negative elements, which may have importance
clinically and in research. The trust in hierarchy subscale relates
to the cultural norms of respect for parental authority, which
differ among various ethnic groups. To date, the MAD Scale
has been tested in one additional study, an MA thesis conducted
in Turkey, which established the positive correlation between
the MAD subscales and daughters’ life satisfaction and self-
esteem (Onaylı, Erdur-Baker, & Akso¨z, 2010).
In summary, there is no easily administered assessment tool,
reflecting both positive and negative aspects of the mother–
daughter relationship, including how the relationship has chan-
ged over time, which might be applicable in community-based
studies of adult women to assess their relationship with their
mothers. Such an instrument might provide insights into
diverse aspects of the rich and complicated relationships that
exist between mothers and their daughters and point to valuable
areas for research and clinical practice.
The purpose of the current study is to describe the develop-
ment and evaluation of a new measure of mother–daughter
relationships, specifically developed for adult women and
applicable in a variety of settings. This new measure, the Adult
Daughter–Mother Relationship Questionnaire (ADMRQ),
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draws on culturally embedded narratives of adult women on
how their relationship with their mother developed over time,
including both positive and negative aspects. The instrument
was designed to be easily administered, scored, and applicable
in both self-report and interview formats.
The research was conducted in three phases. In the first phase, a
general thematic analysis of mother–daughter interviews from
women from a variety of ethnic groups was used to uncover the
major themes and patterns in the mother–daughter relationship,
following the method of Tutty, Rothery, and Grinnell, 1996.
Recognizing the centrality and cultural context of the mother–
daughter relationship in health maintenance, we studied
mother–daughter pairs from a variety of ethnic backgrounds
(Mendlinger & Cwikel, 2008). Approximately one third of the
interviews in this phase were conducted among Jewish,
American mothers and daughters and the rest among both
native-born and immigrant mother–daughter Israeli dyads from
a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. These included
mothers who originated in Europe, North America, Ethiopia,
Republics of the Former Soviet Union, North Africa, and Israel
(Mendlinger & Cwikel, 2008), representing both religious and
secular lifestyles and from both modern and traditional back-
grounds. In keeping with the feminist and social epidemiolo-
gical research traditions, the emphasis was on what keeps
women well and allows them to function as adults (Gidron,
Levy, & Cwikel, 2006; Griffin & Phoenix, 1994; Lindsey,
1997; Rogan, Shmied, Barclay, Everitt, & Wyllie, 1997). How-
ever, the interview also allowed for the expression of negative
aspects of the relationship typified by emotions such as anger or
disappointment. All the daughters in the original study were
themselves mothers of at least one child, having negotiated the
transition to motherhood in a way that either echoed or differed
from the mothering style they themselves had experienced. Both
mothers and daughters were interviewed about their relationship
with their own mother, separately. Thus, while all the daughters
were reflecting on a parent who was alive and in a relationship to
them, some of the mothers reported on a relationship to a mother
who may have already passed away. In either case, the salience
of the mother–daughter relationship was strong and showed a
potent effect on their current functioning, regardless of whether
the mother was currently alive and involved with her daughter,
alive but incapacitated, or had passed away.
From the themes extracted from these interviews, key state-
ments were rendered into statements on a Likert-type scale
with five points of agreement ranging from ‘‘strongly agree’’
(5) to ‘strongly do not agree’’ (1), reflecting aspects of the
daughter’s relationship to her mother. See Appendix for the
initial and revised versions of the ADMRQ.
In the second phase, the initial questionnaire was circulated to
10 women psychotherapists with extensive clinical and psy-
chotherapeutic experience with women to act as judges of face
and content validity. Judges gave their opinion on the clarity,
representativeness of the questions and provided suggestions for
revisions as needed. Their suggestions were incorporated to make
the instrument more comprehensive and exhaustive regarding the
salient issues in the mother–daughter relationship. For example,
one judge noted that the instrument had to include an option for
single children. Another noted that daughters sometimes report
that their mothers were jealous and lived vicariously through
them. Changes were made to clarify wording and eliminate con-
fusing or vague items. Two versions were prepared: One for
women whose mother was still alive (see Appendix) and one for
women whose mothers had passed away or was incapacitated,
rendering the relationship inactive (available from the author on
request). This differentiation was according to the findings from
the first phase of the study thatemphasized the pivotal role of the
relationship regardless whether the mother was currently alive or
involved. The final questionnaire consisted of 53 questions with a
final open question to assess additional aspects that respondents
might want to add. A standard demographic questionnaire was
included at the end for research purposes.
In the third phase, the final questionnaire was circulated to a
convenience sample including both professionals working with
women and community-dwelling women. A special effort was
made to include women currently in psychotherapy to show
concurrent validity. The research was approved by the Univer-
sity’s Social Work Department Ethics Committee and all those
who completed the questionnaire gave informed consent.
These results were then analyzed to test the structure of the
questionnaire, to detect correlations with demographic indica-
tors and with the psychotherapy status in the past year (in
psychotherapy, yes or no) in order to demonstrate construct
and convergent validity. A subsample was retested after 4–6
weeks in order to show test–retest reliability.
Data Analysis
The SPSS program (Version 18) was used for data analysis.
Statistics used were w
, correlations, and factor analysis. A
series of exploratory factor analyses were conducted using a
principal components analysis with Varimax rotation with Kai-
ser Normalization (weights reported if they exceeded 0.45)
until a final parsimonious result was achieved. The final
reported factor analysis eliminated items that did not load at
0.45 on any factor. Three factors were then formed into addi-
tive scales and their internal consistency tested by Cronbach’s
a. The resulting scales were tested for their convergent validity
by bivariate correlations or t-tests with demographic variables
and the psychotherapy status of the respondent. In the case of
country of origin group, marital status, level of religiosity, a
one-way analysis of variance was conducted.
A sample of 147 was collected in Israel, 117 (79.6%) from
women whose mothers were alive, and 30 (20.4%) from
women whose mothers had passed away or were incapacitated.
Thirteen were only children (6.6%). The sample included 61
students of social sciences (41.5%), 19 mental health
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professionals (12.9%),and67(45.6%) community-residing
women who were recruited at workshops, lectures, and in vol-
untary organizations. For a subsample of women (n¼93), we
determined whether in the past year they had been receiving
psychotherapy or any other mental health treatment. Of this
subsample, 34 (23.1%of the total sample and 36.6%of the
subsample) were in treatment. In addition, 15 women com-
pleted the questionnaire twice over a 4- to 6-week interval to
determine test–retest reliability.
Table 1 shows the demographic distribution of the sample. The
average age of the sample was 38.04 (SD ¼13.4). Most were
married and secular, and the modal educational attainment was
a first academic degree with 90.3%having some higher edu-
cation. The majority were Israeli born (72.9%), with others
having immigrated from Europe (6.9%), North and South
America (6.2%), the Former Soviet Union (5.5%), and Asia
Africa (5.5%). The majority had children (62.2%), the number
ranging from 1 to 7 with the average being 1.7 children.
The content analysis from the first phase revealed four
major themes that formed the basis of the questionnaire: (1)
the quality and closeness of the relationship, (2) the evaluation
by the daughter of the mother’s parenting skills, (3) the degree
of dependency/interdependency in the dyad, and (4) the degree
to which life circumstances were similar or different between
the mother and daughter (e.g., did they grow up in different
countries and was their level of education or religious obser-
vance different or similar?).
Table 2 shows the results of the factor analysis. Questions
about relations with siblings (Questions 30–33 and 35–39)
were excluded because these questions were not consistently
Table 1. Demographic Characteristics of the Sample.
Characteristic nPercentage
Age (years)
16–30 58 40.5
31–45 50 35.0
46–70 35 24.5
Up to high school 14 9.7
Bachelor of arts 67 46.5
Master of arts 56 38.9
PhD 7 4.9
Marital status
Single 38 26.4
Separated/divorced/widowed 8 5.6
Married or living with partner 98 68.0
Region or country of origin
Israeli born 105 72.9
Asia Africa 8 5.5
United States–S. America 9 6.2
Former Soviet Union 8 5.5
Europe 10 6.9
Secular 87 61.7
Traditional 32 22.7
Religious 22 15.6
Percentage excluding missing data, n¼4, 3, 3, 3, and 6, respectively.
Table 2. Results From Principal Components Analysis With Varimax
Phrase (Question #)
Factor 1:
Factor 2:
Factor 3:
Enjoy M’s company (43) .839
M amazing woman (1) .821
Identify with grandmother
M encouraged personal
development (6)
M doesn’t understand me (4) .731
I confided in M (15) .723
M accomplished things and I
am proud (2)
M taught me many things (11) .710
Want to be a different kind
of mother
M gave me strong sense of
self (51)
M has good attributes (47) .694
M encouraged professional
development (7)
Lot of anger toward M (48) .686
M praised my
M had no idea (41) .659
M open to learning (46) .592
M had no time for me (24) .590
I learned how to mother
from M (19)
Unexpressed anger toward
M (49)
M didn’t pay attention (3) .529
I wish I had more time for M
I shared secrets with M (20) .516
I am like my M in
personality (18)
M should have protected
me (26)
M had high expectations (52) .779
M blocked new things (28) .590
M had many demands (45) .528
M overprotected me (27) .521
I express anger toward M
M lived vicariously through
me (53)
Unsure of M’s reactions (23) .463
Financial dependent on M
I have access to
opportunities (10)
I am caretaker (5) .580
M depended on me (21) .525
Note. Items included if .45 loading and above. M ¼Mother.
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answered by all respondents. Thus, 44 questions were ini-
tially analyzed in the factor analysis. The most parsimonious
solution was obtained with three factors including 35 ques-
tions. All final items loaded at .45 and greater on one spe-
cific factor and less than .30 on any other factor. Nine
questions were excluded from the final factor analysis
because they did not load at .45 on any factor (Questions
8, 9, 12, 13, 17, 25, 29, 42, and 44). The first factor included
both positive and negative affective (NA) reactions to
mother. It was comprised of 24 items (eigenvalue ¼12.6)
and accounted for 32.04%of variance. Nine items loaded in
a negative direction and 15 in a positive direction. The sec-
ond factor represented ambivalent relations with mother,
comprising 7 positive items (eigenvalue ¼2.8), which
accounted for 11.28%of the variance. The third factor
reflected dependence/interdependence and was comprised
of 4 items (eigenvalue ¼1.87), accounting for 6.07%of the
variance. One item (Question 40) loaded in a negative direc-
tion. This three-factor solution accounted for a total of
49.4%of the variance in the data.
Given the large number of both positive and negative
items reflecting the affective reactions, separate additive
scales were constructed with only positive affect (PA) items
(15 items, a¼.927) and negative affect (NA) items (9 items,
a¼.907). Ambivalent relations (AR) (7 items) had adequate
internal consistency with a¼.697 and interdependent rela-
tions (IR, 4 items) also had adequate internal consistency (a
As shown in Table 3, the PA and NA Scales were highly
correlated (r¼.807, p< .01). The AR Scale correlated nega-
tively with the PA (r¼.410, p< .01) and positively with the
NA Scale (r¼.543, p< .01). The AR and IR Scales were
correlated (r¼.209, p< .05). The highest mean values were
in the PA Scale and in the IR Scale. The lowest mean value was
in the AR Scale.
Religious observance and being born in Israel were not
related to any of the ADMRQ subscales. However, age was
negatively associated with the PA Scale (r¼.220, p< .01)
and associated with the NA Scale at a level approaching
statistical significance (r¼.154, p¼.07) and positively
associated with the IR Scale (r¼.458, p<.05)andARScale
(r¼.175, p< .05). The Interdependency Scale was also
positively related to the level of education and the number
of children, respectively (r¼.295, p<.01,r¼.262, p<.01).
Education and the number of children were not associated
with the other scales. Marital status was related to three of
the four scales, with those who are divorced or widowed
showing the poorest relationships, highest on the NA Scale
(F¼3.61, p< .05) and lowest levels on the PA Scale (7.57,
p< .01), while those who are single had the lowest scores on
the IR Scales compared to married or divorced or widowed
respondents (F¼9.46, p¼.000). Marital status was not
Having a mother alive capable of interacting was related to all
the ADMRQ Scales in the direction of more positive relations
when the mother is alive compared to respondents whose moth-
ers were deceased or incapacitated. Respondents whose mother
was alive had higher PA Scores (t¼3.16, df ¼137, p<.01),
lower NA scores (t¼1.88, df ¼144, p¼.05), lower IR scores
(t¼3.45, df ¼144, p< .01), and lower scores on the AR Scale
(t¼2.33, df ¼144, p<.05).
Among those whose psychotherapy status was determined
(n¼93), t-tests between being in psychotherapy in the past
year and PA and NA showed less PA among those in psy-
chotherapy (t¼1.98, df ¼137, p¼.05) and a strong
relationship with NA Scale (t¼2.98, df ¼144, p< .01)
with those in psychotherapy showing much greater NA. The
IR Scale did not differ between those in psychotherapy and
those who were not. However, the AR Scale did differ with
those in psychotherapy being more ambivalent (t¼1.99, df
¼144, p¼.05).
A closer look at the individual ADMRQ questions showed
that 12 specific questions differentiated between those who
were currently in psychotherapy and those who were not (t-test
results < .05). These are marked in Appendix with an asterisk
(*). Specifically, two positive questions [I enjoy Mother’s
(M’s) company (43) and M gave me a strong sense of self
(51)] were significantly lower among those in psychotherapy.
Six negative questions were rated higher among those in psy-
chotherapy; M doesn’t understand me (4), M had no idea (41),
M had no time for me (24), unexpressed anger toward M (49),
M didn’t pay attention (3), and M should have protected me
(26). Three ambivalence questions were significantly higher
among those in psychotherapy [M had high expectations
(52), M blocked new things (28), and unsure of M’s reactions
when in trouble (23)]. Being financially dependent on M (40)
was significantly related to being in psychotherapy.
Among those who repeated the questionnaire within a
month (n¼15), the mean change of the items was 0.61 in
scores with a range of 0.42–1.23 for all the items. This indicates
very good test–retest reliability, as this change level is equiv-
alent to approximately half of a Likert-type scale level change.
Table 3. Means, SD, 95% Confidence Intervals (CIs), and Intercorrelations of the Four Scales.
Scale Mean SD 95% CI Negative Affect Ambivalent Relations Interdependency
Positive affect 3.39 0.84 [2.55, 4.23] .807*** .410*** .043
Negative affect 2.79 1.02 [1.77, 3.81] .543*** .070
Ambivalent 2.29 0.69 [1.6, 2.98] .209*
Interdependency 3.23 0.78 [2.45, 4.01]
*p< .05. ***p< .001.
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This article presents preliminary findings on the development
and psychometric properties of the newly formed ADMRQ
which assesses the quality of the mother–daughter relationship
among adult women, regardless of whether their mother is
currently alive or not. The advantages of this scale are that it
was developed based on the rich descriptions given by women
on how their relationship with their mothers evolved from their
childhood over their adolescence and into adulthood. Some
topics that were expected to affect the mother–daughter rela-
tionship, such as differing life opportunities or competition
with mother during adolescence, were ultimately not retained
in the final version. However, these topics may be found to be
clinically important or valid in future research efforts. Mother-
ing skills were retained but not as a separate factor rather they
were included in the affect scales. Thus, as suggested by attach-
ment theory (Fonagy, 2008), the impact of ambivalent or insen-
sitive caring is expressed by low levels of PA toward mother in
Not unexpectedly, NA and PA were significantly correlated
and loaded on the same, affective factor. Women who were
closer to other female relatives instead of to their mothers were
more likely to report negative relationships. Statements
describing mothers who did not understand, protect, or have
time for their daughters or whose behavior was confusing and
inconsistent were associated with less PA relationships. These
findings are parallel to what has been found in other studies of
adult attachment based on attachment theory relating to moth-
ers who were preoccupied or failed to protect their daughters in
childhood (George et al., 1984, 1988, 1996).
Differing life opportunities did not show any significant
effect on the mother–daughter relationship in contrast to the
earlier, qualitative analyses. This is surprising in light of the
robust nature of the consensus as found by Bengston and cor-
esearchers as an indicator of intergenerational solidarity
(Bengtson et al., 2002). Also, given that both immigration sta-
tus and religious observance strongly affect women’s mental
health (Cwikel & Segal-Engelchin, 2005), the findings that
religiosity and immigration status were unrelated to the
ADMRQ results were surprising. These results also differ from
what Bengston found in his research on the social and cultural
effects on intergenerational solidarity (Bengtson, 2001). It
could be that other demographic factors influence the
mother–daughter relationship more than ethnicity and religious
observance, such as educational achievement.
It is remarkable that so many positive aspects of mothering
were retained in the final questionnaire. This indicates that the
ADMRQ successfully emphasized the empowering aspects
inherent in the mother–daughter relationship. These include
encouraging personal and professional development, praising
the daughter’s accomplishments, and teaching mothering
skills. Yet, the relationship is reciprocal and daughters
acknowledge PA reactions to their mothers in statements such
as being proud of one’s mother and her accomplishments, con-
fiding and sharing secrets, wanting to spend time with her, and
assessing her as an amazing woman. These are aspects of the
relationship that can be highlighted in clinical work with
As expected, anger and its expression were important topics
in the relationship. A high level of anger or unexpressed anger
was particularly potent in the NA factor. When anger was
expressed toward mother, this fed into the AR factor. Anger
loaded together with lack of protection and attention on the
NA Scale. This contrasts with the Parenting Bonding Instru-
ment by Parker and colleagues, which emphasized two
aspects (care and protection) as being central to parenting
styles but found that they loaded on two separate factors
and were not associated with anger (Parker, 1990; Parker
et al., 1997).
AR was associated with PA and NA responses but in oppo-
site directions. A combination of high expectations and
demands and blocking opportunities resulted in a distinct
AR, with high expressed anger, and was characterized by such
statements as ‘‘I never knew how my mother would react’’ or
‘My mother lived vicariously through me.’’ These topics
would be important to develop further in both research and
clinical practice.
Finally, being overdependent on one’s mother for financial
support was negatively related to being a caretaker, accessing
opportunities for oneself, and having mother who is dependent
on her daughter for care. Caring for a disabled parent over time
can erode PA. This trend was more common as mothers
advance in age. The negative changes in the relationship
observed in this study parallel the theoretical model, in which
aspects of the mother–daughter relationship are modified as
mothers age and develop, stretching over a matrix of tensions
(Oberman & Josselson, 1996) as well as empirical research
suggesting that the mother–daughter relationship may be
strained as mothers age (Birditt & Fingerman, 2013). Indeed,
as the findings show, as women age, the positive aspects
decreased, and the negative, ambivalence, and interdependency
scales increased.
Being married was associated with greater PA, while being
divorced or separated was associated with greater negative
aspects in the mother–daughter relationship. Thus, it seems that
some aspects of the mother–daughter relationship are colored
by conflict or distress in other interpersonal relationships such
as with a spouse. Given that we tested adult women, it is dif-
ficult to know exactly how the mother–daughter relationship
affected the capacity of women to establish intimacy and sta-
bility in their marital relationships. This would require further
research with the instrument in a sample studied prospectively
over time.
Interdependency was not associated with the affective scales
but was associated with ambivalence. This independence of
derived factors suggests that these are distinct constructs. This
is similar to the finding reported, which shows that financial
dependence is associated with ambivalent relations in adult
mothers and daughters (Pillemer & Suitor, 2002). Interdepen-
dency was also found salient in the MAD mother–daughter
scale (Rastogi, 2002).
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The ADMRQ can be used to test individual scores on the
scales by adding the scores on the questions as shown in
Appendix. Thus, a client in therapy might want to see whether
their score falls within or outside the 95%confidence interval.
Results falling above or below these values suggest an aspect of
the mother–daughter relationship that could be further explored
in therapy. Individual questions may also resonate for specific
clients, opening up reflection on of how mothers functioned as
parents, incorporating both the positive and negative aspects
and promoting understanding and acceptance. The specific
questions that differentiated between those in psychotherapy
from the rest of the sample might be useful points of departure
in a therapeutic setting, allowing for expression of unexpressed
negative emotions and memories.
There are many avenues for future research based on these
preliminary psychometric evaluation results. While the quali-
tative phase of the study was conducted both in the United
States and in Israel, given that the cross-sectional phase of the
study was conducted only in Israel, this limits the applicability
of the measure to other samples. While the Israeli population is
quite heterogeneous in ethnic and social structure, it is still
important that future research will test the questionnaire in
multicultural samples in other national contexts. Furthermore,
while the mother–daughter relationship is important, it would
be helpful to expand the use of the ADMRQ to explore father–
daughter and mother–son and other dyadic relations in the
complex families of today. We are currently using the ADMRQ
in a sample of mothers and their teenage daughters, exploring
how the mother–daughter relationship influences disordered
eating among the daughters. Longitudinal research could high-
light what aspects of the relationship are important in, for
example, preventing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
among new mothers. Future studies might also compare the
ADMRQ with other existing scales such as the MAD, PBI,
or the PDI.
In conclusion, the ADMRQ has good psychometric proper-
ties, includes both positive and negative aspects of the mother–
daughter relationship, draws on the changing relationship
between mothers and daughters over time, and is applicable
in both clinical and epidemiological research.
The question’s scale is indicated at the end of the question:
PA, NA, AR, interdependent relationship (IR). Questions in
italics were not retained in the final questionnaire. Questions
marked with * differentiated between those in psychotherapy
and those not in psychotherapy.
Introduction. The mother–daughter relationship is an important
one in formulating self-identity and developing life skills. The
following questionnaire was developed especially to reflect the
richness and the importance of this relationship.
Following are some statements about your relationship with
your mother.
Please indicate the degree to which the following statements
are true for you today, using the following scale:
(5) Strongly agree
(4) Agree
(3) Partially agree
(2) Do not agree
(1) Strongly do not agree
(1) My mother is an amazing woman. (PA)
(2) My mother accomplished many things that I am
proud of. (PA)
(3) I wish that my mother had had more time to pay
attention to me and my needs when I was young.
(4) I feel that my mother doesn’t really understand me
even today. (NA*)
(5) Today my mother has many needs and I try to take
care of them as best as I can. (IR)
(6) My mother has always encouraged me in my personal
development. (PA)
(7) My mother has always encouraged me in my profes-
sional development. (PA)
(8) My mother is a very attractive woman.
(9) My mother had access to opportunities that I did not.
(10) I have had access to opportunities that my mother did
not. (IR)
(11) My mother taught me many things that I find useful
today. (PA)
(12) My mother does things her own way.
(13) I do things my own way which is very different from
my mother.
(14) I wish that I had more time to be with my mother
today. (PA)
(15) I confide in my mother when I am in trouble today.
(16) I identify more with my grandmother (or aunt or other
female to whom you feel close) than with my mother.
(17) I am more like my father in personality.
(18) I am more like my mother in personality. (PA)
(19) I learned a lot from my mother on how to mother my
own children (answer if relevant). (PA)
The following questions (20–29) ask about the way that your
mother related to you when you were a child and teenager:
(20) As I was growing up, I shared everything with my
mother and did not keep secrets from her. (PA)
(21) My mother depended on me quite a bit when I was
growing up. (IR)
(22) My mother often praised me for my accomplishments
as a young person. (PA)
(23) When I was growing up, I never knew how my
mother would react when I was in trouble. (AR*)
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(24) When I was growing up, my mother was preoccupied
with work, family, and household obligations and
barely had time for me. (NA*)
(25) When I was growing up, my mother was preoccupied
with work, family, and household obligations and
barely had time for herself.
(26) My mother should have protected me more when I
was a child. (NA*)
(27) My mother protected me too much when I was a
child. (AR)
(28) My mother prevented me from trying new things.
(29) As I was growing up, I often felt that my mother
competed with me.
Are you an only child (or did you grow up without other
children resident in your mother’s home)? If yes, please
skip and answer questions 35–39.
Questions 30–34 are meant for children who grew up with
other siblings in their mother’s home.
(30) When I was growing up, I often felt that my other
siblings got more of my mother’s attention than I did.
(31) When I was growing up, I often felt that I was closer
to my mother than my other siblings were to her.
(32) When I was growing up, I often felt that my other
siblings got more of my father’s attention than I did.
(33) When I was growing up, I often felt that I was closer
to my father than my other siblings were to him.
(34) I want to be a different kind of mother to my children
than my mother was to me and my siblings. (NA)
Answer Questions 32–36 Ff You Were an Only Child.
(35) When I was growing up, I often felt that other
people got more of my mother’s attention than I
(36) When I was growing up, I often felt that I was the
closest person in the world to my mother.
(37) When I was growing up, I often felt that other people
got more of my father’s attention than I did.
(38) When I was growing up, I often felt that I was closer
to my father than other people in the family.
(39) I want to be a different kind of mother to my children
than my mother was to me.
(40) I am dependent on my mother or my parents finan-
cially today. (IR—reversed*)
(41) I often feel that my mother has no idea about my
troubles and hardships. (NA*)
(42) If I am in need of instrumental help (e.g., errands,
child care, and cooking) in day-to-day life, I often ask
my mother for help.
(43) I enjoy my mother’s company. (PA*)
(44) I was taught to honor my mother and my father
(45) My mother often has demands on me that wear me
out. (AR)
(46) My mother is open to learning new things. (PA)
(47) My mother has good attributes that I wish I had. (PA)
(48) I feel that I have a lot of anger toward my mother.
(49) I have a lot of anger toward my mother that I cannot
express to her. (NA*)
(50) I feel that I have a lot of anger toward my mother but I
find ways to express it. (AR)
(51) My mother instilled in me a strong sense of self.
(52) I have often felt that my mother had such high expec-
tations of me that I could never live up to them.
(53) I have often felt that my mother lived vicariously
through my experiences. (AR)
(54) Are there any other important aspects of your rela-
tionship with your mother that we have not covered
here? If so, please elaborate:___________________
To Calculate Scores for Scales
PA Scale—Add scores for Questions 1, 2, 6, 7, 11, 14, 15,
18, 19, 20, 22, 43, 46, 47, and 51 and divide by 15.
Negative Affect Scale—Add scores for Questions 3, 4, 16,
24, 26, 34, 41, 48, 49, and divide by 9.
Ambivalence Scale—Add scores for Questions 23, 26, 27,
28, 45, 50, and 52 and divide by 7.
Interdependency Scale—Add scores for Questions 5, 10, 21,
and 40 (reversed) and divide by 4.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to
the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, author-
ship, and/or publication of this article.
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... The mother plays an important role in the emotional quality of the parent -child bond and in transferring values through generations (Cwikel 2016;Jackson and Ho 2020). Generally, the mother perceives her daughter as a part of herself more than her son and forms the basis for a woman-towoman socialization process (Tarar 2012). ...
... This relationship differs and becomes complex with psychological and physical development yet continues throughout life. The strength of the mother -daughter bond is the most important feature of this relationship that is distinctive from other social ties (Cwikel 2016;Jackson and Ho 2020). ...
... As part of the developmental process, it involves strong positive attachment, closeness, identification, caring, and solidarity, as well as autonomy. Girls tend to be "like" their mothers and to internalize most of their mothers' behaviors, thoughts, and values (Batra and Kohli 2019;Cwikel 2016). Studies that clearly reflect the mother-daughter relationship in Turkey are limited, but some sociological research findings provide information about this relationship. ...
This research is conducted to examine the effect of pregnant women's relationships with their mothers on their perception of birth. This is a qualitative analytic study. This research is carried out with 19 pregnant women who received service from a state hospital in a southern province of Turkey between November-December 2020. Pregnant women between the ages of 18-35, at the 32nd gestational week and above, and who had an active relationship with their mother were included in the study. Data were collected by interview method using semi-structured questions. Descriptive analysis was performed for the analysis of the data. All transcripts were evaluated by two researchers and codes were created. The codes formed the subthemes in terms of similarities and differences, themes were created as a result of combining themes. The data obtained consists of three main themes: 1) Mother - daughter relationship, 2) Perception of birth, 3) Perception of maternal support at the moment of birth.
... The importance of a woman's relationship with her parents in general, and with her mother in particular, and its contribution to life satisfaction is well established (e.g., Deb et al., 2020). Most psychological theories posit that perception of the relationship with the mother is a significant factor in the formation of women's identities (Cwikel, 2016;Gilligan, 1993). Psychoanalytic theories maintain that women tend to internalize the values and behaviors of the mother, as well as the meaning the mother attributes them (Boyd, 1989). ...
... This is consistent with theoretical and empirical literature indicating that the period of emerging adulthood is accompanied by increased identification with the parents (Arnett, 2006). The relationship with the mother is considered especially significant in the identity formation of women in general (Boyd, 1989;Cwikel, 2016), and religious women in particular, since the mother plays a major moderating role in the transition between adolescence and adulthood in religious society. ...
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Drawing on ecological theory, the current study examined the associations of religious versus secular environments, relationship with the mother, and personal characteristics (religious coping strategies; self-mastery; sexual self-concept) with the life satisfaction of Israeli Young Modern Orthodox women and a comparison group of secular women. A sample of 362 women aged 18–29 completed quantitative questionnaires. High levels of sexual self-concept and self-mastery, positive religious coping strategies, and supportive relationship with the mother were associated with higher life satisfaction. Supportive relationships with mothers moderated the association between religious coping strategies and life satisfaction. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
... The most parsimonious solution [24] was used with seven-factor including the 29-item IrSHQ. Therefore, all final items loaded at 0.45 or higher on one specific factor, and less than 0.3 on any other factors. ...
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Background: Social health is a fundamental dimension of health, and plays an important role in promoting social well-being. Research in social health needs reliable and valid tools, which should be also applicable to any type of social context. This study was aimed to develop an effective social health questionnaire for the social context of Iranian society. Methods: The study was conducted in three phases: 1) A preliminary 43-item questionnaire was created based on an extensive literature review; 2) The questionnaire was validated. Firstly, social health experts evaluated content validity; secondly, an exploratory factor analysis and Cronbach’s coefficient test were used; 3) The questionnaire was tested in a representative sample of 500 persons, who were selected through a multistage sampling in Tehran, Iran, in 2015. All analyses were carried out using SPSS software (version 22). Results: We developed the Iranian Social Health Questionnaire (IrSHQ) consisting of a 29-item questionnaire organized in seven subscales – ‘Social interaction’, ‘social responsibility’, ‘conscientiousness’, ‘attitude to society’, ‘empathy’, ‘family relationship’, and ‘social participation’−. Internal consistency using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0.86. Validity and reliability of our questionnaire were confirmed. Conclusion: Due to the size and diversity of participants, validity of results, compliance with Iranian culture, and its relative shortness, the IrSHQ appears to be a very useful instrument for measuring individual’s social health in the Iranian social context.
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This volume examines communication processes within the grandmother-mother-daughter relationship, emphasizing an intergenerational perspective. Using observations of and extensive interviews with six sets of middle-income, Caucasian female family members, this book offers a heuristic account of intergenerational mother-daughter relational communication. Author Michelle Miller-Day integrates and juxtaposes alternative experiences of social interaction, situating readers in the world of grandmothers, mothers, adult daughters, and granddaughters as they experience, describe, and analyze their family communication. Miller-Day incorporates aged mothers and younger mid-life mothers and their adult daughters into the research to illustrate how this type of maternal relationship is experienced at different points in a woman's life. With the inclusion of three generations of women, Miller-Day offers multigenerational perspectives on family, and examines them for patterns of maternal interaction, providing symbolic links across generational boundaries. Communication Among Grandmothers, Mothers, and Adult Daughters enables readers to understand more completely the richly textured nature of maternal relationships. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and researchers in the areas of communication and relationships, including family communication, intergenerational communication, women's studies, family studies, interpersonal communication, and relationships, as well as social workers, psychologists, and counselors, who strive to understand family communication processes and their dynamics across generational lines. © 2004 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.
The representativeness of fathers who participate in family research was examined among 661 families. Approximately two thirds of eligible fathers participated. Mothers' and observers' reports on families of participating and nonparticipating fathers were compared. Participating fathers underrepresented fathers with less education, later-born children, more ambivalent marriages, partners with more traditional child-rearing beliefs, families with less optimal parenting environments, and infants who were unplanned, had more difficult temperaments, and were less healthy. Also underrepresented were ethnic minority families and working-class fathers. However, no differences were found in regard to child gender, family income, mothers' psychosocial functioning, either parent's employment experiences, or child-care arrangements. Implications for the generalizability of findings and the recruitment of fathers are discussed.
This research examines the impact of a daughter's transitions to marriage and motherhood on the mother-daughter relationship. Forty-three daughters (married with and without children, and single) and 39 of their mothers were interviewed and questionnaires were administered to the daughters, mothers, and other family members. Two dimensions of the mother-daughter bond are examined: symbolic and interactional. The findings indicate that when daughters become mothers, mothers and daughters tend to reevaluate each other and become more involved in each others' lives. This paper suggests that change in the mother-daughter bond entails a process of redefinition and renegotiation in terms of their relative statuses, their role perspectives, and their family structure.
Using a three-item index of "maternal rapport," perceived relationships to mothers of 171 women ages 35-55 were examined, for the sample as a whole and for six subgroups who differed in their role patterns. Overall, relationships were seen as rewarding, particularly by women who were not themselves mothers. Age of daughter was not significantly related to maternal rapport scores. Mother's health was significantly correlated with maternal rapport scores; mother's marital status (widowed vs. currently married) was not. Psychological well-being, indexed by two factor scores—sense of mastery and pleasure—was significantly correlated with maternal rapport; the relationships were stronger for women who were not mothers themselves. Implications of the findings for understanding the gratifications adult women experience in the role of daughter are discussed.
This study compares the perception of adult daughters' relationship with their mothers across the European American, Asian Indian American, and Mexican American cultures, using intergenerational, feminist object relations and attachment theories. Three dimensions were used to measure the relationships: closeness, reliability, and collectivism. Each dimension was measured using two instruments: the AAS and the MAD. The latter was developed to be sensitive to cultural differences and includes a new variable called trust in hierarchy. This variable represents positive beliefs about, and an acceptance of hierarchy in intergenerational relationships. The participants were 91 women from the three ethnic groups. Cross-cultural differences in the adult daughter-mother relationship were found, with the Asian Indian American group scoring higher than the European American group on many variables. Scores for the Mexican American group tended to fall between those of the other two groups.