University of Sussex
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The mother-child relationship and child behaviour: a comparison of Turkish and English families

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posted on 2023-06-08, 16:53 authored by Berna Aytac
The overarching goal of this thesis was to compare the mother-child relationship and child behaviour across cultures. The three articles in this thesis were part of a multi-method investigation comparing England (an individualistic culture) and Turkey (a collectivistic culture). Accounts from two children and their mothers were obtained from 218 two-parent families in total. Mothers completed questionnaires, children were interviewed using the Berkeley Puppet Interview, and observations recorded during various play tasks. The study was unique as it recorded the perspectives of mothers and young children aged from 4 to 8 in each family across cultures. Results showed that English mothers used more positive methods of discipline with their older children, and reported less conflict with both of their children compared to Turkish mothers. In contrast, English children reported more anger and hostility from their mothers than did their Turkish peers (Paper 1). Cultural differences in maternal values partially explained these differences in positive discipline and anger and hostility (Paper 1). Using structural equation modelling, partial cross-cultural measurement invariance for parenting and child adjustment was revealed (Paper 2), and a stronger association between parenting and child adjustment was found for the English versus Turkish families (Paper 2). Finally, multi-level modelling yielded significant prediction of children’s adjustment from both family-wide and child-specific aspects of parenting (Paper 3). The implications of the findings include appreciating different perspectives of parenting when conducting cross-cultural research (Paper 1); the culturally distinct meanings of both parent and child adjustment should be considered when interpreting their association (Paper 2); and that differential parenting within families can also have distinct cultural meaning (Paper 3). Future research would benefit from exploring within-and between-cultural differences in parent-child relationships further, across multiple countries, over time and in larger samples.


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  • Psychology Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

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