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Title:Infant social referencing: Impact of marital satisfaction and family of origin relationships
Author(s):Dickstein, Susan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Parke, Ross D.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:The purpose of the study was to explore a previously neglected aspect of infant social referencing, namely the familial antecedents of this aspect of parent-infant relationships. Thus, associations among marital functioning, parents' family of origin relationships, and parent-infant interaction were examined. Quality of the marriage was assessed on dimensions of satisfaction and affective involvement between the spouses, while the quality of family of origin relationships was indexed by parental perceptions of their own childhoods and the quality of their parents' marriages. Social referencing was used as an index of the infant's propensity to rely on parental emotional cues during a socially-ambiguous situation. Previous research has demonstrated that social referencing is, indeed, a sensitive index of family emotional relationships. In the current study, triadic interactions were highlighted, and factors hypothesized to be related to marital satisfaction were investigated. Results indicated that social referencing to mothers and fathers was significantly related. Paternal marital satisfaction was found to predict frequency of referencing to families and to mothers; correlates of paternal marital satisfaction including fathers' perceptions of increased negative expressiveness within the family, and quality of fathers' family of origin relationships, predicted referencing to families. A pattern of paternal withdrawal was found in a group of fathers who perceive having good family of origin relationships and who currently experience marital dissatisfaction. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the discrepancy between perceived quality of family of origin relationships and perceived quality of the current marriage influenced referencing behavior. These results suggest linkages among family subsystems and point to the impact of intergenerational factors on current family functioning.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Dickstein, Susan
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9026169
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9026169

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