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This study examined gender differences in interactional style between parents and children, focusing on gender socialization and emotional expression. The subjects were 38 mother-child and father-child dyads from intact families, of which about 75 percent were Caucasian; 15 percent, Hispanic; and 10 percent, African American or Asian. Parents completed the Parenting Stress Index, Behavior Assessment Scale for Children, Culture Free Self-Esteem Scale, Dyadic Adjustment Scale, and a demographics form. Subjects were videotaped in two conditions, a timed, structured task (origami) and a non-timed, less structured task (story-telling). Interactions were coded for affective tone (frequency counts for positive, neutral, and negative feedback) and parental structuring (frequency counts for appropriate and inappropriate questions, suggestions, and comments and handling the origami material). Children's responses to parent structuring were coded as compliance, rejection, ignoring, or non-response, and their affective tone was coded similarly to that of their parents. Global ratings were obtained for affective tone and structuring by combining counts, creating a rating on a 5-point scale for each member on both tasks. The results indicated that mother-daughter dyads displayed more positive affect than other dyads. Fathers used more intrusion and made more inappropriate suggestions to both sons and daughters compared to mothers. No interaction was found between parent and child gender. The results suggested that parents differ in their expressive styles. Contains 11 references. (Author/KDFB)

Descriptors: Children, Fathers, Interaction, Mothers, Parent Child Relationship, Parent Influence, Problem Solving, Sex Differences, Socialization

Autor: Shepard, Beth A.; Zboyan, Holly A.


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