Maternal Reinforcement Style and Cooperation-Competition Among Anglo-American and Mexican-American Children

Spencer Kagan, George P. Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The major theoretical formulations regarding the antecedents of prosocial motives and behaviors support the hypothesis that a generally rewarding and nonpunitive maternal reinforcement style fosters the development of prosocial motives and behaviors. To test that hypothesis, 189 Anglo-American and Mexican-American mothers in interaction with their children were administered the Reinforcement Style Game which assesses generalized tendency to be rewarding and/or punishing, and the children were administered the Social Behavior Scale which assesses prosocial and competitive motives and behaviors. Results fail to support the theoretical formulations which postulate positive effects of a rewarding, nonpunitive maternal reinforcement style for fostering prosocial development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1984


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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