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Journal of Human Growth and Development

Print version ISSN 0104-1282On-line version ISSN 2175-3598


RIBAS JR., Rodolfo de Castro; MOURA, Maria Lucia Seidl de  and  BORNSTEIN, Marc H.. Mothers' cognitions about mothering and human development: a contribution to the study of parental psychology. Rev. bras. crescimento desenvolv. hum. [online]. 2007, vol.17, n.1, pp. 104-113. ISSN 0104-1282.

The present study investigated three types of parental cognitions (parenting knowledge, parents' self-perceptions, causal attributions in parenting) and had three objectives: 1) to enlarge our knowledge about Brazilian mothers' cognitions concerning parenting; 2) to compare findings produced in the present study with findings produced in previous studies; and 3) to investigate associations between mothers' cognitions and between mothers' cognitions and certain sociodemographic variables. Sixty-six primiparous mothers, aged 18 or older, from intact families, living in the city of Rio de Janeiro, participated in the study. Mothers completed Brazilian versions of four instruments (Knowledge of Infant Development Inventory, Self-Perceptions of the Parental Role Instrument, The Parent Attributions Questionnaire, Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale) and a sociodemographic questionnaire. The mothers answered correctly about 63% of the questions of the instrument that evaluated parenting knowledge, indicating that their knowledge about child development can be enlarged. Concerning parental self-perceptions mothers evaluated more positively their satisfaction and investment in the parental role. The mothers tended to evaluate external causes (e.g., child behavior) as more important than the internal ones (e.g., effort) for the success and failure in parental activities. Several associations between mothers' cognitions and between mothers' cognitions and sociodemographic variables (e.g., educational attainment) were identified. The results were, to a great extent, consistent with previous national and international studies and can contribute to our understanding of parental cognitions as a complex system.

Keywords : Parental cognitions; Parenting knowledge; Self-perceptions; Causal attributions.

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