September 1973

Maternal Differentiation, Father Absence and Cognitive Differentiation in Children

Author Affiliations

Brooklyn, NY
From the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(3):370-373. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200030062009

The effects of father absence and mother's cognitive style on the cognitive differentiation of their children was explored. The aspect of cognitive differentiation examined was extent of field dependence which was assessed by the rod-and-frame test.

Subjects were 181 children from 8 to 15 years of age and their mothers who were making their initial visit to a municipal child guidance clinic. There was a significant (P <.01) positive correlation of mother's and child's level of field dependence. When divided into father-present and father-absent subgroups, it was shown that the father-present black males and females and father-present white males were significantly positively correlated with their mother's level of differentiation, whereas none of the father-absent subgroups were.