Connectedness and autonomy support in the parent-child relationship are constructs that emerge from object relations and attachment theories but that overlap with other commonly studied qualities of parent-child relationships to provide a unifying focus for research in this domain. In this study, these constructs were examined in relation to children's relational competence, including socioemotional orientation, friendship, and peer acceptance. Semistructured conversations between mothers and their 5-year-olds (N = 192) were videotaped at home and rated for (a) connectedness between the members of the dyad and (b) the parent' s support for the child's autonomy. Results showed that connectedness was correlated with children's socioemotional orientations, number of mutual friendships, and peer acceptance and that the relation between parent-child connectedness and children's peer relationships was mediated by children's prosocial-empathic orientation. Implications of these findings for theories that link parent-child relationships to the development of relational competence in children are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies