The role of language and parenting behaviors in the development of mastery motivation in toddlers

Tammy Beth Dichter-Blancher, Fordham University

Abstract

Mastery motivation is the internal drive that leads young children to explore their environment and to achieve and improve their skills without the presence of a reward. Object mastery motivation refers to the drive to explore and become proficient with objects in the environment, and social mastery motivation refers to the drive which leads young children to initiate, maintain, and influence interactions with other. This study looked at parenting and language variables which influence the development of object and social mastery motivation in toddlers. Fifty-four mother/child dyads participated in the study. Children ranged in age from 24 to 42 months, with an average age of 33.8 months. Object and social mastery motivation were assessed through standardized observational assessment procedures and via parent report (Dimensions of Mastery Questionnaire). Parenting behaviors were measured via parent report (Parent Behavior Checklist and Socializing Environment Questionnaire) and child language was measured via parent interview (Vineland) and observation (mean length of utterance). Sociability was controlled in analyses dealing with social mastery motivation. Maternal report of nurturance was positively related to the maternal report of object and social mastery motivation and expressive and grammatical language development. Object and social mastery motivation were positively related to a child's receptive, expressive, and grammatical language development. Language mediated the effect of parenting on mastery motivation for the maternal report of social mastery with children. Sociability was not related to any of observed social mastery variables or the maternal report of social mastery with adults. This supports the distinction between sociability and social mastery motivation. Results of this add to the literature on the correlates of mastery motivation in toddlers, particularly with respect to social mastery motivation which very little research currently exists. Results of this study suggest implications for children with language delays, as children with decreased language skills were less motivated to be involved in social interactions. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Developmental|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Dichter-Blancher, Tammy Beth, "The role of language and parenting behaviors in the development of mastery motivation in toddlers" (1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9926891.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9926891

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