Correspondence among informants on parenting: Preschool children, mothers, and observers

Frances M. Sessa, Shelli Avenevoli, Laurence Steinberg, Amanda S. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


The authors examined the correspondence among preschool children's, mothers', and observers' descriptions of parenting in the mother-child relationship along 3 dimensions (structure, warmth-responsiveness, and hostility). Ninety-four children (mean age = 5 years, 3 months) and their mothers, who represent diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups, participated in the project. Preschool children were interviewed about their mothers' parenting by means of a developmentally sensitive, age-appropriate research tool for assessing the subjective experience of preschool children. Mothers responded to a self-report measure on their own parenting, and observers rated mothers' parenting behavior during a series of interaction tasks designed to elicit the relevant dimensions of parenting. Results indicated significantly greater correspondence between observer and child report of parenting than that between mother and child and mother and observer reports. Explanations for the inconsistencies among informants and implications of this finding are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-68
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2001


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