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  • Cited by 7
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: July 2009

7 - Maternal Representations of Parenting in Adolescence and Psychosocial Functioning of Mothers and Adolescents

from Part Two - Research Applications



The notion of caregiving representations was applied to assess parenting representations of mothers of adolescent sons. The association between these representations and the mothers' state of mind with respect to attachment was examined. In addition, mothers' parenting representations were examined as predictive of the coping of the sons with the developmental tasks of leaving home and individuation. Eighty-two mothers of male adolescents from middle-class intact families were administered the Parenting Representations Interview-Adolescence (PRI–A) approximately a year prior to the son's conscription to mandatory military service. The coping and adaptation to the basic training period as well as levels of individuation three years later were assessed. Mothers' parenting representations were moderately associated with their own AAI categorizations. Mothers' parenting representations were further predictive of the psychosocial developmental accomplishments of their sons. These findings attest to the significance of the mothers' parenting representations in affecting the sons' experiences as part of their developmental trajectory.

Within the paradigm of attachment theory, the interest in parents' caregiving system, namely their motivational system to give care and protection, started to rise a decade ago (George & Solomon, 1989, 1996; Bretherton et al., 1989). This interest was reflected in the study of parents' internal world, their beliefs, emotions and affects, that is, their parenting representations. Several researchers in different laboratories have suggested various ways of assessing parenting representations.

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