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Effects of maternal age on parenting role

Developmental Psychology , Volume 18 (4): 627 – Jul 1, 1982


American Psychological Association
Copyright © 1982 by American Psychological Association
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Effects of maternal age on parenting role


Examined the proposition that maternal age influences parental role performance and satisfaction. Mothers, ranging in age from 16 to 38 yrs, comprised 53 full-term and 52 preterm dyads. Perceptions of parenting role were assessed 1 mo after hospital discharge of infancts using the Satisfaction with Parenting Scale; interactive behaviors were observed when infants were 4 mo old. When other demographic factors and psychosocial variables were controlled, increased maternal age was significantly related to greater satisfaction with parenting, to greater time commitment to that role, and to more optimal observed behavior. Effects of maternal age on observed behavior were stronger in the term sample, whereas effects of maternal age on role satisfaction were stronger in the preterm group. Results indicate that maternal age should be accounted for in studies of mother–infant interaction and child outcomes; the suggestion of linear age effects argues against popular beliefs that adolescent and late childbearing represent unique categories of risk for poor parenting outcomes. (27 ref)
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