• Houck, Gail (PI)

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    Research supports the notion that self-esteem is shaped by early social
    processes and plays an important role in children's developmental outcomes.
    Because self-esteem is not easily studied in early childhood and
    retrospective reports are fraught with reliability problems, little
    attention has been given to the forces that shape this aspect of the self-
    system, particularly during the transition to toddlerhood when its
    development is most salient. The basis for self-esteem is two-fold: a
    sense of competency and the experience of being a "cause", also referred to
    as a sense of control. Although self-esteem is considered one of the most
    pervasive forces shaping child adaptation and psychopathology, a sense of
    control or being a cause is the aspect that is least understood. Further,
    the nature and quality of mother-child interactions involved in the
    development of self-esteem are not well understood. This 5-year project
    has three specific aims: 1) to describe the nature and quality of mother-
    child control-salient interactions during the transition to toddlerhood; 2)
    to examine the relationship of individual maternal and child
    characteristics to the quality of mother-child control-salient
    interactions; and 3) to examine the relationship between the quality of
    mother-child interactional behavior and the child's socio-behavioral
    competence and sense of control. Mother-infant dyads will be recruited in the first 9 months of the infant's
    life. Individual characteristics of mother (depression, parenting control
    orientation, and conceptualization of child development) and child
    (temperament and developmental competencies) will be assessed during intake
    into the study, at the child's age of 9 months. Subsequent assessments and
    laboratory observations of mother-child dyads will occur at the child's age
    of 12, 24, and 36 months. Laboratory observations will include three
    control-salient interactions: limit-setting, play, and conversation. The
    child's behavioral and social competence and causal self-evaluations will
    be taken as indicators of the child's developing self-esteem. The project
    seeks to address knowledge gaps that hamper pediatric and public health
    nurses in carrying out their charge to prevent child psychopathology
    through the promotion of optimal parenting practices and through
    intervention with maladaptive mother-child interaction. The results will
    serve as a basis for future study of the child's developing self-esteem and
    mental health outcomes at subsequent periods when self-report measures may
    be obtained and analyzed in relation to earlier mother-child interactions
    and child socio-behavioral adaptation.
    Effective start/end date9/30/928/31/98


    • National Institutes of Health: $96,125.00
    • National Institutes of Health: $87,478.00


    • Medicine(all)
    • Nursing(all)


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