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Dev Psychol. 2003 Nov;39(6):949-63.

Maternal power assertion in discipline and moral discourse contexts: commonalities, differences, and implications for children's moral conduct and cognition.

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Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1407, USA.


Parental power assertion is traditionally studied in the behavioral domain--discipline triggered by the child's immediate misbehavior--but rarely in the cognitive domain--parent-child discussions of the child's past misbehavior. Maternal power assertion was observed in "do" and 'don't" discipline contexts from 14 to 45 months and in the context of mother-child discourse about a recent misbehavior at 56 months. Mothers' use of power cohered across the "do," 'don't," and discourse contexts, but its implications were domain specific. Power assertion in the 'don't" discipline context predicted behavioral outcomes (more moral conduct at 56 and 73 months, less antisocial conduct at 73 months) but not cognitive outcomes (moral cognition at 56 and 73 months). Power assertion in the discourse context predicted less mature moral cognition but not moral or antisocial conduct. Mothers' high Neuroticism predicted more power assertion in all three contexts. Child effects were examined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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