Mothers' representations of caregiving and their adult children's representations of attachment: Intergenerational concordance and relations to beliefs about mothering.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mothers (N= 35) and their adult children completed questionnaires and were interviewed in order to examine relationships between mothers' caregiving representations and their adult children's attachment representations, and relationships between attachment/caregiving representations and beliefs about mothering. Mothers' and their children's accounts of and present thinking about their past relationship were highly similar, indicating that the two parts develop concordant states of mind regarding their relationship. In contrast, there was no relationship between mothers' and their adult children's beliefs about mothering, suggesting that such beliefs are not simply passed on from generation to generation within families. Attachment/caregiving classification interacted with generation in influencing a belief that biological facts determine maternal behavior, young adults with preoccupied attachment being particularly prone to reject this idea. Attachment/caregiving classification also had a significant effect on participants' tendency to adhere to an idealized conception of mothering, this tendency being associated with a dismissive attachment/caregiving representation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • Caregivers, parent-child relations, adult atttachment, parental beliefs, matherhood, tarnsgenerational patterns
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch