This paper reports on two studies into the images of motherhood held by young females. In Study 1, we attempted to uncover general conceptual dimensions by which young Dutch females perceive motherhood. For this, a group of 64, predominantly White, participants of various ages and educational backgrounds were interviewed about real-life mothers and female images derived from television. Qualitative analysis revealed 4 main conceptual categories: a mother's traditional orientation toward motherhood, her child-centeredness, her self-assertive attitude, and a mother's open and social attitude. The items making up the 4 conceptual categories found in Study 1, underwent factor analysis in Study 2. Two main dimensions were found. One dimension represented a traditional orientation toward motherhood, whereas the other added a more contemporary perspective to motherhood, and represented a self-assertive and relational orientation toward motherhood. In Study 2, we investigated how young females viewed themselves as potential mothers with regard to these two dimensions. We analyzed whether differences in the views of young females about their future motherhood were dependent on level of education, age, and image of their own mother. The 165, predominantly White, young females taking part were asked to rate themselves and their mother on a range of items, representing the two dimensions of motherhood. Although daughter ratings were positively related to the ratings they assigned to their mothers, daughter perceived themselves to function differently with respect to the two dimensions of motherhood, compared to their own mother: They perceived themselves as less traditional, and more self-assertive and relational oriented than their mothers.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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