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Children and Parents: Attributions, Attitudes and Agency
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology and Organisation Studies. (BUV)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7881-5670
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Children and parents are both part of children’s development and research on children and on parenting are both areas that, in some way, have changed in recent decades. These changes are related to the new way of seeing children and that children are no longer seen as ‘becomings’ or adults in the making; rather, children are insteadregarded – and seen – as more active in their development and as social agents. With a new way of viewing children and childhood there is also a new way of explaining or understanding parenthood. The general aim of this thesisis to learn more about how parents think about their parenting and how this can be related to children’s agency. Inaddition, children’s own beliefs about their agency are studied. The aim of Study I was to investigate mothers’ and fathers’ (77 participants from each group) attributions and attitudes in Sweden. The results revealed thatSwedish parents are more polarized in their attitudes than in their attributions. Regarding attitudes, mothers and fathers reported more progressive than authoritarian attitudes. Fathers reported higher adult-controlled failure and child-controlled failure attributions than mothers. In Study II the aim was to assess whether mothers’ and fathers’self-reports of acceptance-rejection, warmth, and hostility/rejection/neglect of their children differ in the nine countries. A total of 1996 parents (998 mothers and 998 fathers) participated in the study. Mothers and fathers reported high acceptance and warmth and low rejection and hostility/rejection/neglect (HRN) of their children inall nine countries. Despite the high levels of acceptance and low levels of rejection across all countries, some systematic differences between countries emerged. In Study III Swedish mothers’ and fathers’ warmth towards their children was examined in relation to their children’s agency. It also studied the longitudinal relation between agency and children’s externalizing, internalizing, and school achievement. Swedish children’s parents (N = 93) were interviewed at three time points (when children were 8, 9, and 10 years old) about their warmth towards their children, children’s agency, children’s externalizing and internalizing behaviors and school achievement. Results from this study indicate that Swedish parents’ warmth is directly related to children’s subsequent perceptions of their agency, which in turn are related to subsequently lower child externalizing and internalizing problems and higher academic achievement. Personal agency is studied in Study IV and the aim of this study was to examine how 10-year-old children perceive their agency in three different contexts, family, school and peer-situations. Interviews were conducted with 103 ten-year-old Swedish children. Vignettes concerning three different situations were presented to the children and their answers were written down for subsequent thematic analysis. The resultsshowed that children perceive their agency differently depending upon which context they find themselves in. The difference is not in how they think adults or peers would react to their agency, but in how they themselves would act if their agency was suppressed. It is mainly with other children that they would show assertiveness and try to find a solution together, while they would be more emotional and powerless with adults.In summary, parents in the studies report higher similarity about parenting in some cases, for example concerning acceptance and warmth and hostility/rejection/neglect, but lower in others, such as the Swedish parents’ reports about attributions. It is also revealed that parents’ warmth is related to children’s agency,and that children’s perceptions of their agency depend on whether they interact with adults or other children. Apossible contribution of this thesis is to generate additional knowledge about parental cognitions and the implications that parenting can have on child agency, but also the shedding of light on the ways in which, depending on the context, children’s beliefs of their agency differ.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg, Department of Psychology , 2015. , p. 184
Series
Doctoral Dissertation in Psychology, ISSN 1101-718X
Keywords [en]
Parenting attitudes, parenting attributions, personal agency, child agency, child adjustment, school achievement
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-8004ISBN: 978-91-628-9496-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-8004DiVA, id: diva2:849062
Public defence
2015-09-04, Albertsalen, Gustava Melins gata 2, Trollhättan, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2016-01-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Attributions and attitudes of mothers and fathers in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attributions and attitudes of mothers and fathers in Sweden
2011 (English)In: Parenting, Science and Practice, ISSN 1532-7922, Vol. 11, no 2-3, p. 177-189Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective. The present study examined mean level similarities and differences as well as correlations between mothers' and fathers' attributions regarding successes and failures in caregiving situations and progressive versus authoritarian attitudes. Design. Interviews were conducted with mothers and fathers in 77 Swedish families. Results. Fathers reported higher adult-controlled failure and child-controlled failure attributions than did mothers; these differences remained significant after controlling for parents' age, education, and possible social desirability bias. Significant positive correlations were found for mothers' and fathers' progressive attitudes, authoritarian attitudes, and modernity of attitudes after controlling for parents' age, education, and possible social desirability bias. Conclusions. In Sweden, fathers are more likely to attribute failures in caregiving situations to themselves and to children than are mothers, and there is moderate concordance between fathers and mothers within the same family in progressive and authoritarian parenting attitudes. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2011
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-3555 (URN)10.1080/15295192.2011.585565 (DOI)15295192 (ISSN) (ISBN)
Available from: 2011-08-29 Created: 2011-08-29 Last updated: 2015-09-15Bibliographically approved
2. Agreement in Mother and Father Acceptance-Rejection, Warmth, and Hostility/Rejection/ Neglect of Children Across Nine Countries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Agreement in Mother and Father Acceptance-Rejection, Warmth, and Hostility/Rejection/ Neglect of Children Across Nine Countries
Show others...
2012 (English)In: Cross-cultural research, ISSN 1069-3971, E-ISSN 1552-3578, Vol. 46, no 3, p. 191-223Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The authors assessed whether mothers' and fathers' self-reports of acceptance-rejection, warmth, and hostility/rejection/neglect (HRN) of their preadolescent children differ cross-nationally and relative to the gender of the parent and child in 10 communities in 9 countries, including China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States (N = 998 families). Mothers and fathers in all countries reported a high degree of acceptance and warmth, and a low degree of HRN, but countries also varied. Mothers reported greater acceptance of children than fathers in China, Italy, Sweden, and the United States, and these effects were accounted for by greater self-reported warmth in mothers than in fathers in China, Italy, the Philippines, Sweden, and Thailand and less HRN in mothers than in fathers in Sweden. Fathers reported greater warmth than mothers in Kenya. Mother and father acceptance-rejection were moderately correlated. Relative levels of mother and father acceptance and rejection appear to be country specific. © 2012 SAGE Publications.

Keywords
acceptance, culture, parenting, rejection
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-4619 (URN)10.1177/1069397112440931 (DOI)000307448300001 ()2-s2.0-84865053622 (Scopus ID)10693971 (ISSN) (ISBN)
Available from: 2012-09-06 Created: 2012-09-06 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Parental perceptions of children’s agency: Parental warmth, school achievement and adjustment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parental perceptions of children’s agency: Parental warmth, school achievement and adjustment
2016 (English)In: Early Child Development and Care, ISSN 0300-4430, E-ISSN 1476-8275, Vol. 186, no 8, p. 1203-1211Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study examined Swedish mothers’ and fathers’ warmth towards their children in relation to their children's agency. It also examined the longitudinal relation between agency and children's externalising, internalising, and school achievement. Swedish children's mothers and fathers (N = 93) were interviewed at three time points (when children were 8, 9, and 10 years old) about their warmth towards their children, children's agency, and children's externalising and internalising behaviours and school achievement. Parental warmth at Time 1 was significantly correlated with child agency at Time 2, which was significantly correlated with child externalising and internalising behaviours and academic achievement at Time 3. There were no differences between girls and boys. Results from this study indicate that Swedish parents’ warmth is directly related to subsequent perceptions of children's agency, which in turn are related to subsequently lower child externalising and internalising problems and higher academic achievement. These findings held in the context of a three-year longitudinal study and for both boys and girls, suggesting the importance of child agency in the link between parental warmth and children's adjustment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2016
Keywords
personal agency, parental warmth, school achievement, children's adjustment, parenting
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology; Child and Youth studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-8002 (URN)10.1080/03004430.2015.1083559 (DOI)000380278100002 ()27570362 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84941695814 (Scopus ID)
Note

Published online: 15 Sep 2015

Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
4. Swedish children’s beliefs about agency in family, school and peer situations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swedish children’s beliefs about agency in family, school and peer situations
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-8003 (URN)
Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2017-11-28

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