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Mothers and daughters: Quality of relations with the mother from the perspective of female students Alessandra Pokrajac-Bulian Sanja Smojver-AŞić


Mother-daughter relationship:

• Longer lasting relationship than any other intergenerational relationship; • The nature of the emotional relationship with the mother affects the development of a woman as daughter and as mother; • Quality of mother-daughter emotional relationship is the result of the two-way influence of mother on daughter, daughter on mother; • Through the life cycle and the daughter’s development, the nature of the motherdaughter interaction changes.

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Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


Mother-daughter relationship:

• Long lasting effects of quality of relationships; • Differing quality of relations connected with age of daughter: • important role of mother in first years of daughter’s development; • natural process of psychological separation of daughter from mother different from process of separation of son from mother;

• Identification of the daughter with the mother is the basis for:

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• development of self-concept and • orientation to relations with others.

Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


Mother-daughter relationship:

Intensity of relation of adult daughter and mother, interdependence and emotional connectedness are greater than in other intergenerational relationships.

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Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-AŞić: Research results


Description of research: Quality of relations with mothers from girl students’ point of view • 155 female students in survey • average age 22 (from 18 to 25); • Anonymous and voluntary participation; • Tested: perception of relationship with mother in young adulthood, presence of psychological symptoms, and satisfaction with life.

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Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


Quality of relationship with mother:

• 35% of girl students still live with mother; • 54.6% see mother once a week or monthly; • 10.4% see mother once in a few months or less often; • 78% speak with mother every day;

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• 22% hear from their mother once a week.

Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


What was investigated?

• Quality of relation with mother: • assessment of closeness; • reciprocity; • understanding; • reliance on mother’s advice;

• attachment for mother;

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• presence of psychological symptoms; • satisfaction with life.

Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


RESULTS

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Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


Assessment of closeness with mother

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Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results

• 79.4% of students have close relationship with mother


Relationship with mother in comparison to that in other families

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Pokrajac-Bulian, an, Sanja Smojver-AŞić: Research results


Assessment of relationship with mother

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Assessment of different aspects of quality of relationship with mother: 74% of girls think that their mother understands and respects them, shows concern, feelings, and are sincere in the relationship.

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Experience of relationship with mother: • Female students who participated in research describe relationship with mother as close, high quality, satisfying; • They think their relationship with the mother is better than or at least as good as that experienced by others.

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Perception of reciprocal intimacy between mother and daughter: Reciprocal intimacy — the sharing of personal feelings of daughter with mother, of mother with daughter.

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What contributes to reciprocal intimacy of mother and daughter?

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Perception of reciprocal agreement between mother and daughter: Reciprocal agreement — sharing opinions, views, seeking mother’s advice.

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What contributes to reciprocal agreement of mother and daughter?

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• Expectation of positive relationship with mother. • In most of girl students polled, relationship with mother is good. • But what if this relationship is not all that good? • How does a less than perfect relationship affect psychological adjustment?

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Measures used: • Scale of symptoms – self-assessment to determine expression and number of psychological problems and psychopathological symptoms; • Assessment for 90 symptoms; • Assessment scale: 0 – none at all; 1 – little; 2 – moderate; 3 – fairly much; 4 – very much • Measure of expression of psychological and physical symptoms in the following magnitudes:

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• physical disturbances; unpleasant, repetitive thoughts; poor interpersonal relations; depression; anxiety; hostility/unfriendliness; phobic anxiety; uncommon thoughts and experiences;

• overall measure of expression of symptoms.

Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


Expression of psychological symptoms in the female student sample: Analysis of relations with mother in this research using a sample of female students who on average have slightly expressed physical and psychological symptoms and who are relatively well adjusted.

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Correlation of expression of psychological symptoms and relationship with mother Is there any difference in expression of psychological symptoms in girls with respect to quality of relation with mother?

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Assessment of relation with mother and intensity of psychological disturbances

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Relation with mother


Assessment of relation with mother and intensity of psychological disturbances: Girls dissatisfied with their relation with mother exhibit more dissatisfaction in relation with others, are more prone to depression and more often have unpleasant and repetitive thoughts.

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Assessment of relation with mother and intensity of psychological disturbances:

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Relationship with mother


Assessment of relationship with mother and intensity of psychological disturbances: Girls dissatisfied with their relationship with mother experience more anxieties and phobic fears, more often get into conflicts and show hostility to others, and sometimes have uncommon thoughts and experiences.

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Attachment: • Attachment: powerful emotional bond of an individual with one or more persons. • Attachment figure: person in connection with whom attachment is developed – in childhood, mostly the mother. • Development of attachment is a process that lasts the whole lifetime through development of reciprocal emotional relation between mother and daughter.

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What is the long-term effect of attachment? • Attachment as internal working model of self and others: • On basis of experience in relationship with mother, an image of self as person and image of others develops; • Internal working model that the mother has developed with her mother affects the form of attachment that she develops with her daughter.

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Attachment during the lifetime • Quality of emotional relationship with mother is connected with development of attachment in partner relationships; • Quality of attachment from childhood is basis for later qualities of close relations, but is not determining and unchangeable.

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Attachment in adolescence and during the lifetime: • As children grow up, the form of interaction with the attachment figure (the mother) changes; • Sense of security in the attachment figure does not derive from physical closeness, but from the knowledge that this figure and the built trust can be relied on; • In young adulthood a daughter still requires from her mother care, attention, understanding, expression of feelings, as well as respect for needs for attaining independence;

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• A mother who is warm, caring and sensitive to the needs of her children will facilitate the growing up process in her daughters.

Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


Quality of relation of attachment through two dimensions: • Dimensions: Anxiety and avoidance • Anxiety in relation with mother – excessive need for approval, fear of desertion, search for closeness: – I get dissatisfied when my mother is not around when I need her. – When mother’s not around I feel a bit anxious and insecure.

• Avoidance of closeness – excessive need for independence, fear of intimacy and closeness and dependence on others:

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• I get nervous when my mother crowds me. • I don’t feel comfortable when I open up emotionally.

Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Research results


Expression of dimensions of avoidance and anxiety in relationship with mother: • 16% of female students have more marked expression of avoidance of closeness with mother; • 10% of female students display moderate anxiety and uncertainty in relationship with mother.

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How much does perception of quality of relationship with mother contribute to depression?

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How much does perception of quality of relation with mother contribute to anxiety?

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How much does perception of quality of relationship with mother contribute to totality of psychological symptoms?

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• Anxiety in relationship with mother and experience of unsatisfactory relationship contributes to expression of psychological symptoms, depression and anxiety. • Students that have pronounced need for mother’s approval, more marked fear of abandonment plus simultaneous requirement for closeness with mother (with whom they do not have satisfactory relationship) develop psychological symptoms and several symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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Styles of attachment with respect to dimensions of avoidance and anxiety in relation with mother

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Style of attachment: • Secure style of attachment – low expression of anxiety with respect to mother and low avoidance of closeness; positive image of self and others, trust in other people without fear of closeness. • Fearful style of attachment – expressed anxiety in relation with mother and avoidance of closeness. Need for close relations, but feeling of discomfort during establishment of closeness.

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Style of attachment: • Preoccupied style of attachment – highly expressed anxiety in relation with mother, low avoidance. Marked need for belonging and closeness, but lack of security in the self. • Dissmising style of attachment – low expression of anxiety in relation with mother, with high avoidance of closeness.

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Presence of psychological symptoms in relation to attachment style

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Presence of psychological symptoms in girls with different attachment styles: • Secure attachment of daughter in young adulthood correlates with lower level of psychological symptoms. • Female students who have marked anxiety in relationship with mother and high level of avoidance of closeness have highest level of psychological symptoms.

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Satisfaction with life in relation to attachment style

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Satisfaction with life in girls of different attachment styles: • Girls with secure attachment in relation with mother have highest level of satisfaction in life. • Lowest level of satisfaction with life shown by students who have marked avoidance of closeness with mother and low anxiety in the relationship.

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Conclusion:

• Results of research confirm importance of close relations with mother in young adulthood; • Girls who have positive emotional relation with mother are more satisfied with life and have fewest psychological problems; • Close emotional relationship with mother is important determinant of emotional health in girls.

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Mothers and daughters: Quality of relations with the mother from the perspective of female students  
Mothers and daughters: Quality of relations with the mother from the perspective of female students  

Alessandra Pokrajac-Bulian, Sanja Smojver-Ažić: Mothers and daughters: Quality of relations with the mother from the perspective of female...

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