Introduction

Maternal Sensitivity: Individual, Contextual and Cultural Factors in Recent Conceptualizations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Over the past three decades, numerous investigators have stressed the importance of maternal sensitivity in children's social and cognitive development. The various contributors to this thematic issue take different yet complementary approaches to the definition of early maternal sensitivity, focusing on mothers' responsiveness, joint topic focus with child, affect, involvement and structuring of the physical and social environments of the child. The populations represented in these writings are diverse, including middle-class and poorer families, children with and without special needs and families from a range of cultural groups. Individual and contextual factors are discussed as influencing the expression of maternal sensitivity and as both mediating and moderating relations between maternal sensitivity and diverse child outcomes. Together, this collection of writings underscores the multidimensional character of maternal sensitivity, the specialized nature of its influence and the relevance of studying maternal sensitivity within a comprehensive ecological framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-171
Number of pages5
JournalInfant and Child Development
Volume5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

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Keywords

  • Culture
  • Ecological context
  • Maternal sensitivity
  • Multidimensionality
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "Over the past three decades, numerous investigators have stressed the importance of maternal sensitivity in children's social and cognitive development. The various contributors to this thematic issue take different yet complementary approaches to the definition of early maternal sensitivity, focusing on mothers' responsiveness, joint topic focus with child, affect, involvement and structuring of the physical and social environments of the child. The populations represented in these writings are diverse, including middle-class and poorer families, children with and without special needs and families from a range of cultural groups. Individual and contextual factors are discussed as influencing the expression of maternal sensitivity and as both mediating and moderating relations between maternal sensitivity and diverse child outcomes. Together, this collection of writings underscores the multidimensional character of maternal sensitivity, the specialized nature of its influence and the relevance of studying maternal sensitivity within a comprehensive ecological framework.",
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