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Profiles of Maternal Care Observed in a Group of Brazilian Mothers: an Exploratory Study

  • Maria Lucia Seidl-de-Moura (a1), Altay L. de Souza (a2), Angela Donato Oliva (a1), Mauro Luis Vieira (a3), Eulina Lordelo (a4), Rosana Suemi Tokumaru (a5) and Tatiana Targino Alves Bandeira (a1)...

Abstract

The aim of this study is to characterize profiles of maternal care in a sample of Brazilian mothers, using a culturalbiological perspective. Participants were 315 women who had at least one child younger than six years-old. They were selected from six Brazilian states. In each state, two groups of mothers were studied, one from the capital and one from a small city. They were interviewed and answered scales on allocentrism, social support, adult attachment, and practices of childcare. Mothers' characteristics, the type of context (capital vs. small city), and reported childcare practices were used in a Tree analysis. A Correspondence analysis was performed using the four clusters obtained and mothers' answers regarding their youngest child. Univariate GLM analyses were performed to compare mothers in the four clusters in terms of their scores on the different scales. Four maternal profiles presenting distinctive patterns of association between mothers' characteristics and care practices displayed to the youngest child were identified. We conclude that maternal care is a multi-determined phenomenon and that the method employed in this study can give insights into how the combination of diverse social-biological factors can result in a set of childcare practices.

El objetivo de este estudio es caracterizar los perfiles de atención materna en una muestra de madres brasileñas, desde una perspectiva cultural-biológica. Las participantes fueron 315 mujeres que tenían al menos un hijo menor de seis años. Fueron seleccionadas en seis estados brasileños. En cada estado, se estudiaron dos grupos de madres, uno de la capital y otro de una ciudad pequeña. Fueron entrevistadas y se les administró la escala de alocentrismo, la de apoyo social, la de apego en adultos, y la de prácticas de cuidado en niños. Las características maternas, el tipo de contexto (la capital vs. ciudad pequeña), y la información aportada sobre prácticas de cuidado en niños, fueron utilizados en un árbol de decisión. Utilizando los cuatro grupos obtenidos y las respuestas de las madres sobre sus hijos más pequeños, se realizó un análisis de correspondencias. Para comparar a las madres en los cuatro grupos, en función de sus puntuaciones en las diferentes escalas, se utilizaron análisis univariados mediante el procedimiento GLM. Fueron identificados cuatro perfiles maternos que presentan patrones distintivos de asociación entre las características maternas y las prácticas de cuidado que se dispensan a los niños más pequeños. Llegamos a la conclusión de que la atención materna es un fenómeno multi-determinado y que el método empleado en este estudio puede proporcionarnos mayor información sobre cómo puede resultar la combinación de diversos factores sociobiológicos, en un conjunto de prácticas de cuidado infantil.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Maria Lucia Seidl-de-Moura. Rua Fritz Feigl, 465, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 22750-600. Phone: +552124471588. E-mail: mlseidl@gmail.com

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