A STUDY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIVORCED MOTHERS' ATTITUDE TOWARDS THEIR EX-HUSBANDS, PERCEIVED SUPPORTIVE AND COERCIVE BEHAVIOR IN MOTHER-SON INTERACTIONS, AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN BOYS

ROBERT MICHAEL GREENE, Fordham University

Abstract

Every year since 1972, over one million children are affected by the divorce of their parents. It appears that boys have a more difficult time adjusting to their parents divorce than do girls. Furthermore, there is evidence that following their breakup of the family, nine to twelve-year-old boys demonstrate greater levels of aggression for a longer period of time than do either younger or older children. While early research in this area has focused on the absence of the father as the explanation for such behavior problems in boys, more recent research has begun to stress the importance of the mother's relationship with her child.^ Thus, in an effort to better understand the post-divorce aggresssive behavior of boys, this study focused on the mother's interaction with her son. The two aspects of the mother-son relationship investigated were the degree to which the mother was reported to use coercion as a means of disciplining her son and the degree to which the mother was reported to use coercion as a means of disciplining her son and the degree to which the mother was reported to be emotionally supportive of her son. The present study also looked at the extent to which the mother's attitude towards her ex-spouse might be affecting her interactions with her son.^ The results of a path analysis suggests that 18 to 39 months after parental separation, a mother's attitude towards here former mate directly affects how supportive and coercive her son reports her to be in the mother-son relationship. This analysis also suggests that how coercive the mother is with her son may directly affect the son's level of aggression in school. It appears, however, that whether or not the mother is emotionally supportive of the son has less of an impact on his aggressive behavior.^ While not the primary purpose of this study, mothers' and sons' reports of the mothers behavior were compared. The results of t-tests suggests that while there is no significant difference between mothers' and sons' reports of maternal coercive behavior, there appear to be considerable differences in mothers' and sons' perceptions of maternal support. The results of a stepwise multiple regression suggests that such factors as changes in the family income or the reduced availability of the mother since the divorce were not significant in trying to explain why the sons' reported their mothers to be less supportive than the mothers' reported themselves to be. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

GREENE, ROBERT MICHAEL, "A STUDY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIVORCED MOTHERS' ATTITUDE TOWARDS THEIR EX-HUSBANDS, PERCEIVED SUPPORTIVE AND COERCIVE BEHAVIOR IN MOTHER-SON INTERACTIONS, AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN BOYS" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8423124.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8423124

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