TRANSITION TO MOTHERHOOD: ITS IMPACT ON THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP

CAROL REDPATH OLSEN, Fordham University

Abstract

A cross-sectional study of 120 married females was conducted to determine the impact of a daughter's maternal status on renewed identification with her mother. Previous literature suggested that during motherhood a daughter resolves past dependency and separation conflicts with her mother and actively identifies with her image of her mother. It was hypothesized that renewed identification was a process which began in pregnancy with an internal identification with mother and was completed in motherhood with a behavioral identification with mother. The direction of this perceived change in the dyad was also examined. Based on past research, it was hypothesized that the daughter would assume a more traditional orientation with onset of parenthood and that perceptions of her mother would become more moderate as renewed identification developed.^ Three experimental groups, representing three distinct transitional phases of the daughter's life cycle, i.e., marriage, pregnancy and motherhood, were selected. The investigation employed two instructional conditions. First, the daughter was asked to respond to the selected measures of identification. Secondly, the daughter was asked to respond to these measures as she perceived her mother would presently respond. In addition, a perceived social support inventory was administered to all subjects to determine if perceived social support affected perceived closeness with mother.^ Analyses of variance and Pearson Product Moment correlations were employed to analyze the data. The results did not support the hypotheses in general. Instead, it was found that: (1) pregnancy, and not parenthood, was a possible significant stage in maternal identification that should be examined further in future research, (2) the daughters did not assume a more traditional orientation with onset of motherhood and, (3) only the pregnant daughters perceived their mothers as more moderate in their views. Lastly, perceived social support was not found to be significantly related to perceived closeness with mother.^ The findings of this study suggest pregnancy may be an appropriate period to initiate child development and parenting classes. In addition, the findings suggest that renewed identification with mother is much more specific than previously thought and limited to identification with specific dimensions of the maternal role. Suggestions for future research and limitations of the study were discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

CAROL REDPATH OLSEN, "TRANSITION TO MOTHERHOOD: ITS IMPACT ON THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP" (January 1, 1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8714574.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8714574

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