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Title:Maternal autonomy support and control in the United States and China: Moment-to-moment associations with preschoolers’ behavioral regulation
Author(s):Chen, Xi
Director of Research:McElwain, Nancy L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McElwain, Nancy L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bost, Kelly F.; Pomerantz, Eva M.; Berry, Daniel
Department / Program:Human Dvlpmt & Family Studies
Discipline:Human Dvlpmt & Family Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):self-regulation
autonomy support
parental control
cross-cultural
transactional process
preschoolers
challenging problem-solving
observation
Chinese
Abstract:There has been a long-standing debate over cultural commonality versus specificity regarding implications of maternal autonomy support and control on children’s self-regulation and adjustment. Cross-cultural studies have mainly focused on early adolescence, and the studies in early childhood are limited. Furthermore, the transactional process of mother-child interaction is an important context of socialization. Thus, cross-cultural studies should go beyond testing associations between maternal and child behaviors at the population level and examine transactions within a given mother-child dyad (i.e., how the mother and the child respond to changes in each other’s behaviors). In this study, I compared the transactional process of mother-preschooler interaction in small urban areas in the United States (U.S.) (n = 99, 52 boys, M = 56.05 months, SD = 6.44) and China (n = 101, 46 boys, M = 57.41 months, SD = 6.58). From video recordings of mother-child interaction during a 5-min challenging puzzle task, maternal behaviors (autonomy support and control) and child behaviors (attention, agency and defeat) were rated by separate teams of native speakers on 4-point scales in 15-second intervals. Using residualized dynamic structural equation models (RDSEM), I examined (a) within-person fluctuations of maternal autonomy support and control in a given moment (i.e., 15-sec interval) as predictors of child behaviors in the next moment and (b) country as a moderator of these mother-to-child lagged effects. In these models, I also explored child-to-mother lagged effects and controlled for concurrent associations between maternal and child behaviors and autoregressions of the residuals. Limited support for cultural specificity emerged in the within-person lagged effects. Of the six models tested, one showed support for cultural specificity: increases of maternal autonomy support in a given moment (t) predicted increases of child defeat in the next moment (t+1), but only for the Chinese sample. Findings provided more consistent support for cultural commonality. For both samples, within-person increases of maternal control at t predicted decreases of child agency at t+1, and within-person increases of child defeat at t predicted increases of maternal autonomy support at t+1. The within-person lagged associations between maternal behaviors and child attention were nonsignificant. I discussed how these moment-to-moment mother-child transactions may both reflect and maintain cultural differences in overall levels of maternal and child behaviors.
Issue Date:2020-04-21
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/108253
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Xi Chen
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-27
Date Deposited:2020-05


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