Parent-Child Relations throughout Life

By Karl Pillemer; Kathleen McCartney | Go to book overview

7
Mothers' Language with Firstand Second-Born Children: A Within-Family Study

Kathleen McCartney
University of New Hampshire

Wendy Wagner Robeson
Wellesley College

Elizabeth Jordan
University of New Hampshire

Vera Mouradian
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The question of whether children evoke social experiences from parents and others has been posed both by critics of socialization research ( Bell, 1968; Bell & Harper, 1977) and by developmental behavior geneticists ( Plomin, DeFries, & Loehlin, 1977; Scarr & McCartney, 1983). Critics of socialization research argue that there are reciprocal influences within parent-child relationships. Developmental behavior geneticists argue that child effects on adults reflect a process of genotype → environment effects. More specifically, genetic predispositions of children are hypothesized to be systematically associated with the environments children evoke and actively seek out. Recent theory along these two lines has led to an increased interest in child effects on adults.


A REVIEW OF RESEARCH ON DIFFERENTIAL PARENTAL TREATMENT OF SIBLINGS

The study of differential parental treatment of siblings has been used to document child effects on parents. Researchers are currently studying in what domains and in which contexts siblings receive different behaviors from parents. In the existing scant literature there is as much evidence for consistency of parental treatment as there is for differential parental treatment.

Studies that have directly investigated differential parental treatment have focused on its sequelae rather than its antecedents. Several researchers have been interested in the effect of differential treatment on the quality of sibling relationships (see Dunn, 1988, for a brief review) and its effect on adolescent adjustment ( Daniels, Dunn, Furstenburg, & Plomin, 1985). In one study that

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