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Mothers' attributions for their own and other children's difficult behaviours: Is there evidence of a child-serving bias?

Mothers' attributions for their own and other children's difficult behaviours: Is there evidence of a child-serving bias?
Mothers' attributions for their own and other children's difficult behaviours: Is there evidence of a child-serving bias?

This thesis examined mothers' attributions for difficult behaviours in their own and other children. Study One established that mothers display an attributional bias in favour of their own child compared to a hypothetical other child. Study Two replicated this finding and showed that levels of this child-serving bias were not a function of the extent of information mothers hold about their own and three other hypothetical children. Study Three showed that mothers are biased in favour of their own child in comparison to a known other child both in the attributions offered for their behaviour and the optimism they have concerning their child's future. Both of these effects are moderated by the extent to which mothers see their child as part of themselves. Further, these effects are moderated by the levels of threat present in the behavioural situation. It is argued that the data are consistent with a motivational model of attributional bias and that mothers demonstrate a child-serving bias in order to protect or maintain a positive self-concept.

University of Southampton
Cornah, Deborah Jane
Cornah, Deborah Jane

Cornah, Deborah Jane (2001) Mothers' attributions for their own and other children's difficult behaviours: Is there evidence of a child-serving bias? University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis examined mothers' attributions for difficult behaviours in their own and other children. Study One established that mothers display an attributional bias in favour of their own child compared to a hypothetical other child. Study Two replicated this finding and showed that levels of this child-serving bias were not a function of the extent of information mothers hold about their own and three other hypothetical children. Study Three showed that mothers are biased in favour of their own child in comparison to a known other child both in the attributions offered for their behaviour and the optimism they have concerning their child's future. Both of these effects are moderated by the extent to which mothers see their child as part of themselves. Further, these effects are moderated by the levels of threat present in the behavioural situation. It is argued that the data are consistent with a motivational model of attributional bias and that mothers demonstrate a child-serving bias in order to protect or maintain a positive self-concept.

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Published date: 2001

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 464532
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/464532
PURE UUID: a1bc993f-4222-48dc-8587-db70a486ca3f

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Date deposited: 04 Jul 2022 23:44
Last modified: 05 Jul 2022 02:10

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Author: Deborah Jane Cornah

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