Parental Favoritism Theory

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Purpose and Hypothesis of the Study
The study by Suitor, Gilligan, Johnson, and Pillemer (2013) had one purpose. The purpose was to explore how perceptions of parental favoritism will play a role in sibling relations during caregiving. They were also able to investigate how responsibility and perceptions of parental favoritism in regards to caregiving, increase the sibling tension when one of this two condition met. The association between the recent caregiving and the sibling tension will be substantial when adult children view their mothers favoring a distinct offspring as future caregivers.
The participants in this study were 450 adult children who were a part of 214 later-life families that reported that their mothers needed care
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5 being very often and 1 being never. The respondent’s responses to the series of questions regarding the past two years were used to create the caregiving measure. These responses were based on if they had helped their mother with daily tasks or cared for her when she was dealing with a serious illness or injury in the past two years. Due to the children being nested within the families a multilevel modeling had to be used which took account the absence of independence between the family and the siblings. (Suitor et al., 2013)
As for the perceived parental favoritism measures, the responses regarding their view of their mothers’ favoritism regarding a future caregiver out of her children. The children’s responses were used to create a dichotomous variable. The vast majority of the children did perceive that their mother would have a preference how who her future caregiver would be. (Suitor et al.,
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(Suitor et al., 2013)
The reports of the differences about the effects of the perception of self versus another sibling were not significant. The reports of this set of analyses showed that providing care to their mother and perceiving favoritism is associated with sibling tension independently. (Suitor et al., 2013)
The mother’s health was a key factor in the t-test used to differentiate the children who perceived that their mothers did, in fact, have a preference and those who did not. The children who reported that their mother had limitations to her daily activities were more likely to have the view that their mother did have a preference. (Suitor et al., 2013)
The general results of the study did support the hypothesizes stated by the researchers. They were able to associate the tension created by siblings to their perceptions. (Suitor et al., 2013)

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