What it feels like to be a mother

Variations by children's developmental stages

Suniya Luthar, Lucia Ciciolla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The central question we addressed was whether mothers' adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an Internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers' personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of their children. Uniformly, adjustment indices showed curvilinear patterns across children's developmental stages, with mothers of middle-schoolers faring the most poorly, and mothers of adult children and infants faring the best. Findings based on children in mutually exclusive age groups-for example, mothers with only (1 or more) infants, preschoolers, and so forth-had larger effect sizes than those based on the age of the mothers' oldest child. In contrast to the recurrent findings based on children's developmental stages, mothers' adjustment dimensions showed few variations by their children's gender. Collectively, results of this study suggest that there is value in preventive interventions involving mothers not just in their children's infancy and preschool years, but also as their children traverse the developmentally challenging years surrounding puberty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Fingerprint

Mothers
Social Adjustment
infant
Parenting
Adult Children
Preschool Children
Puberty
puberty
Internet
Age Groups
age group
well-being
gender
Values

Keywords

  • Affluence
  • Middle school
  • Motherhood
  • Parenting
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

What it feels like to be a mother : Variations by children's developmental stages. / Luthar, Suniya; Ciciolla, Lucia.

In: Developmental Psychology, Vol. 52, No. 1, 01.01.2016, p. 143-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{65670697c4e3437196db89d4e5dcb1a2,
title = "What it feels like to be a mother: Variations by children's developmental stages",
abstract = "The central question we addressed was whether mothers' adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an Internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers' personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of their children. Uniformly, adjustment indices showed curvilinear patterns across children's developmental stages, with mothers of middle-schoolers faring the most poorly, and mothers of adult children and infants faring the best. Findings based on children in mutually exclusive age groups-for example, mothers with only (1 or more) infants, preschoolers, and so forth-had larger effect sizes than those based on the age of the mothers' oldest child. In contrast to the recurrent findings based on children's developmental stages, mothers' adjustment dimensions showed few variations by their children's gender. Collectively, results of this study suggest that there is value in preventive interventions involving mothers not just in their children's infancy and preschool years, but also as their children traverse the developmentally challenging years surrounding puberty.",
keywords = "Affluence, Middle school, Motherhood, Parenting, Resilience",
author = "Suniya Luthar and Lucia Ciciolla",
year = "2016",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1037/dev0000062",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "52",
pages = "143--154",
journal = "Developmental Psychology",
issn = "0012-1649",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - What it feels like to be a mother

T2 - Variations by children's developmental stages

AU - Luthar, Suniya

AU - Ciciolla, Lucia

PY - 2016/1/1

Y1 - 2016/1/1

N2 - The central question we addressed was whether mothers' adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an Internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers' personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of their children. Uniformly, adjustment indices showed curvilinear patterns across children's developmental stages, with mothers of middle-schoolers faring the most poorly, and mothers of adult children and infants faring the best. Findings based on children in mutually exclusive age groups-for example, mothers with only (1 or more) infants, preschoolers, and so forth-had larger effect sizes than those based on the age of the mothers' oldest child. In contrast to the recurrent findings based on children's developmental stages, mothers' adjustment dimensions showed few variations by their children's gender. Collectively, results of this study suggest that there is value in preventive interventions involving mothers not just in their children's infancy and preschool years, but also as their children traverse the developmentally challenging years surrounding puberty.

AB - The central question we addressed was whether mothers' adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an Internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers' personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of their children. Uniformly, adjustment indices showed curvilinear patterns across children's developmental stages, with mothers of middle-schoolers faring the most poorly, and mothers of adult children and infants faring the best. Findings based on children in mutually exclusive age groups-for example, mothers with only (1 or more) infants, preschoolers, and so forth-had larger effect sizes than those based on the age of the mothers' oldest child. In contrast to the recurrent findings based on children's developmental stages, mothers' adjustment dimensions showed few variations by their children's gender. Collectively, results of this study suggest that there is value in preventive interventions involving mothers not just in their children's infancy and preschool years, but also as their children traverse the developmentally challenging years surrounding puberty.

KW - Affluence

KW - Middle school

KW - Motherhood

KW - Parenting

KW - Resilience

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84952863159&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84952863159&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/dev0000062

DO - 10.1037/dev0000062

M3 - Article

VL - 52

SP - 143

EP - 154

JO - Developmental Psychology

JF - Developmental Psychology

SN - 0012-1649

IS - 1

ER -