Mother and Child Perceptions of Child Functioning: Relationship to Maternal Distress

Authors

  • Anne M. Kinsman Ph.D.,

    1. Anne M. Kinsman completed this research while she was a graduate student at Kent State University. She is now a staff psychologist at the University Affiliated Cincinnati Center for Development Disorders at Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati OH.
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  • Beth G. Wildman Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
      Send correspondence and reprint requests to Beth G. Wildman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Kent OH 44242; e-mail: bwildman@kent.edu.
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Send correspondence and reprint requests to Beth G. Wildman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Kent OH 44242; e-mail: bwildman@kent.edu.

Abstract

The relationship between maternal distress and mother's reports of psychosocial problems in their children has been well-documented. However, relatively little research has investigated the relationship between maternal and family distress and young children's perception of their own functioning. Using a brief questionnaire designed for use with children, data were collected from 166 mothers and their children aged 5–12 years. Children provided information about their own daily functioning, and mothers provided information about their own, their child's, and their family's psychosocial functioning. Findings indicated that while children generally agreed with the reports of their mothers, children of distressed mothers self-reported better daily functioning than their mothers did. Distressed mothers tended globally to report negatively about themselves, their child, and their family. The present findings suggest that when assessing mothers or children, the reports of children should be considered as well as the reports of mothers.

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