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An exploration of the relationships between family and social support and parent -child attachment: Multicultural perspectives in the United States and Ireland
This study explores the relationships between family and social support and parent-child attachment. It uses an ecological approach to study ten at-risk families in two family support programs in two different cultural settings. The experiences and perspectives of the ten participants in the family support programs inform the study. The participants are mothers with children under five years of age. Five live in the United States and attend a family center. Five live in Ireland and use a home visiting program. The findings of this study are rooted in the unique cultural contexts of the two family support programs and the ten participants, their individual meanings, experiences, and understandings. A qualitative case study approach within the unique cultural contexts of the two family support programs is used. In-depth interviews, observations, surveys, videotaping, and document analysis are the primary research methods used. From these data, the findings are presented using descriptions and contextual details to compile portraits of the participants' experiences and perspectives. Member checks and peer debriefing established trustworthiness. The findings of this study suggest positive relationships between family and social support and parent-child attachment for the ten participants. The social support programs provided emotional support, material support, and information to the participants. Within the context of the family support programs, the participants reported that they experienced positive supportive relationships, a sense of empowerment and positive affirmation that promoted their self-esteem, self-worth and maternal confidence. They experienced non-judgmental support from the staff, opportunities to network and talk, respect for mothers, and models for parenting options and alternatives. Their relationships and interactions with staff and other mothers helped to relieve their depression, reduce their sense of social isolation, foster communication and provide social networks. They also positively affected maternal sensitivities and responsiveness and promoted feelings of self-confidence. The findings suggest that these family support programs aided in the development of parent-child bonds and parent-child attachment for the ten participants in their unique cultural contexts.
Preschool education|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology
McGuire-Schwartz, Mary Ellen, "An exploration of the relationships between family and social support and parent -child attachment: Multicultural perspectives in the United States and Ireland" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3096302.