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Análise Psicológica

Print version ISSN 0870-8231On-line version ISSN 1646-6020


FERNANDES, Isabel et al. Comparing maternal and paternal interactive behavior and communication in a study about collaborative play tasks with preschool children. Aná. Psicológica [online]. 2018, vol.36, n.3, pp.295-310. ISSN 0870-8231.

The previous research performed in children life contexts tend to describe fathers as non-directive playmates; while mothers tend to reinforce the communication during interactions and involve affectively the child. When mothers are playmates and fathers give basic care to their child the quality of the interaction of mother-infant and father-infant increases considerably. In this study, fathers and mothers were observed independently in the same semi-experimental play situation with their children. For this purpose, 19 dyads mother-infant and 17 dyads father-infant participated in this 20 minutes experience, to manufacture one product using the materials and tools available to one’s choice. Children were between 3 and 5 years old and had no developmental problems identified. We aimed to: (i) compare the interactive quality of parents related to empathy, reciprocity, cooperation, fantasy and challenge; (ii) the communication quality and (iii) describe and compare the products made by the dyads mother-infant and father-infant, as well as the chosen materials. Our findings indicate few differences between mothers and fathers behaviour. In terms of communication, mothers communicate more with process questions than parents. The major differences correspond to how parents react to boys and girls, giving girls more freedom to explore, more positive feedback, and being more responsive to their emotions. The boys lost more often interest during the activity than the girls. Children’s gender affected the results more than the parents’, which indicates that the parents interact and communicate distinctly with girls and boys. Additionally, parents’ educational level correlated with more attentive, patient, and cooperative behaviour with their children. Regarding the age of the parents: younger parents and with more children use more materials and tools.

Keywords : Parent-child interaction; Affectivity; Verbal communication; Shared inter-subjectivity; Gender.

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