Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Attitudes to Motherhood in Different Cultures

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Attitudes to Motherhood in Different Cultures

Article excerpt


Historically, attitudes toward motherhood have varied depending on one's particular culture. These, however, have been transformed in the public's perception: not only the aspects related to maternity, but also the image of the child. The current demographic crisis in Russia has reduced its birth rate and increased the average interval of time between pregnancies. However, the opposite is taking place among certain ethnicities within Russia. It is safe to assume that this shift has been caused by different attitudes towards motherhood that prevail among different cultures. It presents up-to-date psychological studies of mothers who belong to different cultures within Russia.

In this work, we have applied the detailed approach which was developed by R. V. Ovcharova (2003) that studies motherhood more comprehensively and meticulously: taking into account the influence of individual traits, as well as the influence of the mother's family and social influences on how ideas about motherhood take shape.

R. V. Ovcharova's three-factor model is represented by:

* Macro­ level

* Micro­ level

* Personal level

Religious affiliation is considered to be an important factor when determining the substance of ideas regarding motherhood. The customs, traditions and rituals (as the basis of religion) of a society or one of its sub-sets, as well as its unique cultural narrative are of interest due to the fact that these form the subjective world-view of an individual within that society. Ideas regarding motherhood constitute part of this subjective worldview.

This work is aimed at identifying the psychological aspects of ideas about motherhood that can be derived from differences in these worldviews.


A lot of research on the psychological characteristics of families has been under- taken in the last few years. Many new, more objective diagnostic methods of family life have appeared, as well as new forms of counselling and models of help within a child -- parent relationship. At the same time, a distorted relationship often exists between children and parents, and child abandonment is becoming more common. Phenomena such as retracted adoption and child abuse underscore that family research remains essential, and a deeper understanding of the psychological basis of attitudes towards children, their position in the family and their upbringing is needed.

An analysis of the available literature allows one to assume that the root lies with the way motherhood, fatherhood and parenting as a whole are viewed in a society. A general idea of parenting is, to a great extent, determined by the way women view motherhood before they become parents. Before and during pregnancy, parents begin to construct an image of their future child. Depending on how differentiated this image is, a social world of the child is constructed, as are interaction patterns between mother and future child. Consequently, researching these patterns of future mothers' behaviour and attitudes allows one to build a prognosis of how successful a mother will be in general and provides the opportunity to facilitate the establishment of a more concrete relationship between mother and child through pregnancy and after birth.

It is not a secret that family is the first factor that affects a person's development; children perceive culture through their parents. Parents are primary bearers of societal norms and rules (Spivakovskaya, 2000). "Spousal families are in most cases similar to parental families; parental family specifics are unwittingly adapted by children in their own families". The prevailing forms that family relationships have taken in previous generations may serve as an example for future generations (Chernikov, 2001).

Many psychological approaches such as psychology of personality, child psychology, and pedagogical psychology focus on the study of motherhood.

As V.A. Ramih points out, since very early times human society has actively intervened in the sphere of motherhood, resorting to such regulators as customs, morality and law. …

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