Maternal influences on friendship quality: a dyadic approach

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Bethany L. Blair (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Anne Fletcher

Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that middle childhood is a time in which friendships go through substantial changes and begin to occupy a central role in individuals' lives. The quality of children's friendships has implications for individuals' later psychosocial outcomes and yet relatively little is known about how children come to have high quality friendships. There is a large body of literature linking elements of parenting to children's social competence, suggesting that parenting is likely to predict friendship quality as well. Drawing on the Tripartite Model of parental influence, one aim of this study was to examine the ways that mothers' child-rearing beliefs may influence children's perceptions of friendship quality. Friendship research often ignores the fact that there are two children in every friendship, and thus there is the potential for influence from two mothers. Drawing from Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory, another aim of this study is to extend previous research by examining the ways that mothers' child-rearing beliefs may influence not only their own children's perceptions of friendship quality, but also their children's friends' perceptions of friendship quality. Utilizing a subsample of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development data - a longitudinal study of 1364 children and their families - the current study tested an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model whereby maternal child-rearing beliefs in fourth grade predicted children's perceived friendship quality via children's social competence. Results demonstrated mixed support for the hypothesized associations among maternal child-rearing beliefs, children's social competence, and children's perceptions of friendship quality. There was little evidence that maternal child-rearing beliefs were associated with perceived friendship quality, either directly or indirectly through children's social competence. However, there was support for the hypothesis that maternal beliefs would be associated with children's social competence, particularly for the pathways from maternal beliefs to children's aggression. There was also some support for the hypothesis that children's social competence would be linked to their own and their friends' perceived friendship quality. These results highlight the need for additional dyadic examinations of the precursors of children's friendship quality.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Child development, Child-rearing beliefs, Dyadic analysis, Friendship, Maternal beliefs
Mother and child $x Psychological aspects
Friendship in children $x Psychological aspects
Socialization $x Psychological aspects

Email this document to