Gender as an Organizing Feature in Parent-Child Relationships

Authors

  • Ann C. Crouter,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Pennsylvania State University
      S-110 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802.
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      ANN C. CROUTER is Professor of Human Development and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Child and Adolescent Development at Penn State University. Along with Susan McHale, she co-directs the Penn State Family Relationships Project, an NIH-funded longitudinal study on the connections between parental work, family dynamics, and school-age children's psychosocial functioning. Dr. Crouter's interests in parental work stem from a more general interest in the ecological approach to human development. Co-author with Urie Bronfenbrenner of two chapters that address ways to conceptualize the ecology of human development, in her own work Ann Crouter has focused on delineating familial processes that operate similarly or differently across single- and dual-earner families.

  • Susan M. McHale,

    1. The Pennsylvania State University
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      SUSAN M. McHALE is Associate Professor of Human Development at Penn State University. Her research focuses on children's family relationships and family roles (e.g. household tasks, sibling care giving) and their links with children's well-being and development. Toward this end she has studied contexts in which children's family roles and relationships have been altered in ways that have implications for children's functioning. Her publications include articles on parents' and children's family work in Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and the Journal of Marriage and the Family.

  • W. Todd Bartko

    1. University of Michigan
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      W. TODD BARTKO is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan's Center for Human Growth and Development. A recent graduate of Penn State where he collaborated on the Family Relationships Project, he has co-authored with Professors McHale and Crouter a Child Development article and a chapter in the Life-Span Development and Behavior series. Dr. Bartko is primarily interested in developmental and individual differences in psychopathology in children and adolescents.


S-110 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802.

Abstract

This article reviews findings from a longitudinal study of single-earner and dual-earner families with school-age children. We first summarize similarities and differences in the experiences of boys and girls and their mothers and fathers in terms of three ongoing daily family processes: (1) parental monitoring of children's everyday experiences, whereabouts, and companions; (2) parent-child involvement in joint activities; and (3) children's involvement in household chores. We then review findings linking these family processes and family context (single vs. dual earner) to boys' and girls' psychosocial functioning. These findings generally reveal different patterns of psychological adjustment, school achievement, conduct problems, and evaluations of parents as a function of the intersection of gender, family process, and family context. These themes are discussed in terms of the ecological perspective on human development.

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