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Span J Psychol. 2010 Nov;13(2):818-26.

Autonomy and interdependence: beliefs of Brazilian mothers from state capitals and small towns.

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  • 1Departamento de Psicologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universit├írio, Trindade, 88040-900 Florian├│polis, SC, Brazil.


This study aimed to investigate characteristics of Brazilian mothers' beliefs system, in the dimensions of autonomy and interdependence. A group of 600 women, half from state capitals and half from small towns, participated in the study. They were individually interviewed with Scales of Allocentrism, Beliefs about Parental Practices and Socialization Goals. Paired and Independent samples t tests and Multivariate GLM were performed. The results indicate that although mothers from both contexts value autonomy, mothers inhabiting small towns considered the relational dimension as the most important; whereas mothers inhabiting capitals valued equally both dimensions, either in their beliefs about practices or in the socialization goals for their children. Mothers from small towns have a higher mean score for allocentrism than mothers living in capitals. Thus, place of residence proved to be a relevant variable in the modulation of maternal beliefs. Educational level was not a significant factor in the variables considered and with this group of mothers. The study results are discussed in terms of their contribution to the understanding of the complex relationship between dimensions of autonomy and interdependence in mothers' beliefs system.

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