Maternal Reports of Differential Treatment during Early Adolescence

Rebecca Hobson, Beth Manke and Shirley Mcguire

in Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157475
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848065 | DOI:
Maternal Reports of                         Differential Treatment during Early Adolescence

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Although the main focus of behavioral genetic studies is to disentangle sibling resemblance due to genetic factors from resemblance due to shared environmental factors, the same studies typically demonstrate that two siblings raised in the same family are very different from one another. This chapter elucidates the nature of environmental factors that make two children in the same family different. Probably the most studied aspect of non-shared environment has been maternal differential treatment (MDT), or the extent to which mothers treat two children in the same family differently. The majority of research on MDT has focused on the extent and consequences of such treatment (child well-being and sibling relationship quality). Few studies, however, have examined these links longitudinally. In addition, longitudinal associations with adjustment over time have not been examined across early adolescence. This chapter presents the findings of a study that explored the stability of MDT, the possible origins (genetic influences) of such treatment, and the link between MDT and child well-being (overall well-being and competence in extra-familial settings) over three ages during early adolescence.

Keywords: resemblance; genetic factors; siblings; environmental factors; maternal differential treatment; children; family; early adolescence; well-being

Chapter.  9102 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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