An Intersectional Approach to Mother-Child Interaction Research: Intergrating Women's Studies and Nursing Science Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Rogers-Cook, Jamie
    • Affiliation: School of Nursing
  • The disparities between children with social disadvantages and those with social advantages are reflective of the inequities and patterns of discrimination that occur in the larger social context. However, these discriminatory social processes, such as institutional racism and poverty, are not typically reflected in the traditional positivist mother-child interaction research process that predominantly informs policy. Integrating social processes and related aspects of culture to the science of mother-child interaction could bring researchers a step closer to understanding the causes of disparities and effective interventions to close the gap. This dissertation focuses on the broad problem of inequities in diverse groups of women and children while specifically highlighting one aspect of the research process: observational measurement. Merging knowledge gained from women's studies scholarship and nursing science is the impetus for the scholarly works that comprise this dissertation. An intersectional approach to the science of mother-child interaction is the thread that links the three manuscripts within this dissertation. An intersectional approach provides a framework within which a scientist's primary focus is the consideration of the mother and child's situational context and the power differentials that inherently influence their relationship and each person's individual development. From this standpoint, there is a shift from reductionist thinking about women as mothers to an inductive examination of mothering behaviors in diverse and varying groups of women. There is a specific focus on the concepts of maternal sensitivity and maternal control found in the most commonly used observational instruments because scientists who study mother-child interactions are beginning to question the applicability and validity of these concepts in diverse families. Since these instruments are used in predominant studies that influence public policy and intervention design, it is critical that the instruments accurately reflect a non-biased view of mothering behavior. This dissertation is organized around three scholarly papers (Chapters Two, Three, and Four) representing distinctive ways of thinking about and examining the study of mother-child interaction. The scholarly works within this dissertation offer an example of critical thinking and science that consider discriminatory processes within society as well as discrimination within the research process.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Knafl, George
  • Thoyre, Suzanne
  • Berger, Michele
  • Beeber, Linda
  • Miles, Margaret Shandor
  • Lynn, Mary
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2011

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