• within-family differences;
  • parent child relations;
  • parental favoritism;
  • reporting congruence

Abstract: We used data from 769 mother-child dyads nested within 300 later life families to explore the accuracy of adult children’s perceptions of mothers’ patterns of favoritism in terms of closeness and confiding. Adult children were generally accurate regarding whether their mothers preferred a specific child, but often had difficulty identifying whom mothers favored. Multivariate analyses indicated that overall accuracy of children’s reports was positively related to similarity of religious participation and negatively related to parental status of the adult child and family size. Because parental favoritism may affect adult children psychologically and have implications for later life care for parents, family practitioners should be aware of mothers’ patterns of favoritism and the sometimes inaccurate perceptions adult children have concerning this favoritism.