Mothers' interpretations of their children's behavior during mother-child interaction
Robin Remsburg, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN
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The purpose of this study was to gain understanding about mothers' motivations, intentions, and the meaning they ascribe to their children's behavior by exploring and describing mothers' interpretations of their children's behavior during interaction and how it impacts on mother-child interaction. Mothers' interpretations of their children's behavior were examined using qualitative research methodology. A grounded theory approach was used to collect, code, and analyze data with a goal to generate theoretical statements regarding the contribution of mothers' interpretations of their children's behaviors during mother-child interaction. Ten mothers of preterm infants participated in this study. Mothers were shown a videotape of themselves interacting with their 18 month old children during the Ainsworth-Wittig Strange Situation Procedure and were asked to discuss the behavior they observed. Interviews, field notes and investigator observations were transcribed, reviewed, and coded for content and process. Analysis revealed that the interpretation process involves three steps: recognition, determination of meaning, and management. Interpretation is the compilation of all the relevant and influencing factors necessary to decide what the behavior is, what it means, and results in the identification of a management strategy. Three categories of influencing factors were revealed: (1) child-related, (2) mother-related, and (3) situation-related. Mothers relied upon their personal knowledge of their children's usual behavior in explaining their children's behavior. Mothers' interpretations of their children's behavior fell into three basic areas: (1) harm/danger producing behavior, (2) undesired/disruptive behavior, and (3) desired/growth enhancing behavior. While mothers' specific interpretations were for the most part unique and personal, there were a number of areas in which their interpretations and the context in which they occurred that were similar among all mothers interviewed. Desired/growth enhancing behaviors cited by most mothers included talking, walking, eating, potty training, playing independently, and sharing and getting along with other children. Undesired/disruptive behaviors cited by most mothers included hitting, banging, or throwing objects. Temper tantrums and crying were also cited.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 9428416; ProQuest document ID: 304143740. The author still retains copyright.
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