Perceptions of Mothers' and Fathers' Responsibility for Children's Behavior

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Behavior Problem, Social Psychology, Middle Class, Child Behavior, Prosocial Behavior

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Mother-blaming has been well documented in research related to the etiology and maintenance of child psychopathology and family dysfunction. However, there has been almost no research that investigates the differential attributions of maternal and paternal blame for different types of problems or attributions of responsibility for prosocial child behaviors. In the current study, young adult participants (primarily Caucasians from the middle class) were asked to rate their perceptions of mothers' and fathers' responsibility for children's internalizing, externalizing, and prosocial behavior. Mothers were rated as more responsible for their children's internalizing behavior problems, and fathers were rated as more responsible for their children's externalizing behavior problems. Perceptions of mothers' and fathers' responsibility for their children's prosocial behaviors did not differ. Ramifications of mother-blaming and father-blaming are discussed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Sex Roles, v. 29, issue 11/12, p. 839-851.