The socialization of autonomy and relatedness: Sequential verbal exchanges in Japanese and U.S. mother-preschooler dyads

Tracy A. Dennis, Makram Talih, Pamela M. Cole, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler, Ichiro Mizuta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite documented cross-cultural variability in autonomy and relatedness, relatively little is known about how these characteristics of self are socialized. This study, a secondary analysis (Dennis et al., 2002), explored this question by examining sequential verbal exchanges between Japanese and U.S. mothers and children during play and a challenging wait (N = 60, M age = 55.8 months, SD = 4.9). The likelihood that mothers would contingently encourage child autonomy or relatedness by matching, responding positively, or reducing directives was tested. There was greater encouragement of relatedness among Japanese mothers but few cultural differences in encouraging autonomy. Effects depended on the context of interaction, with greater cultural differences during the challenging wait. Culturally distinct gender effects also emerged: U.S. mothers bolstered girls' autonomy and showed consistent encouragement of boys' relatedness whereas Japanese mothers bolstered autonomy in boys only. Implications for cross-cultural patterns in the socialization of self are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-749
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology

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