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... And the 'mother-blaming' problem.

While women in general may have been unjustly saddled over the years with the reputation of having poor spatial abilities (above), mothers in particular continue to suffer the slings and arrows of behavioral researchers, according to a report in the July AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ORTHOPSYCHIATRY.

Despite "the efforts of the women's movement,...the present study has demonstrated that mother-blaming is a significant and serious problem that continues in the current clinical literature," report Paula J. Caplan (who also co-authored the spatial study) and Ian Hall-McCorquodale of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto.

The researchers studied clinical journals for the years 1970, 1976 and 1982 to see if there was any lessening of what they suggest has been a tendency to blame mothers for their children's emotional problems. In their analysis of 125 articles, they found that 72 kinds of offspring psychopathology were listed as attributable to mothers; mothers were mentioned five times more often than fathers in relation to children's problems; and 37,492 words were used to describe the mother, compared with 14,406 words for the father.

"The most striking pattern reflected in our results is that, in every category, the mothers emerged in a far less favorable, more blameworthy light," say the researchers. The sex of the author or the type of journal made little difference in the references to mother, they add. "For mothers' sakes," they conclude, "the tendency to blame mothers must be curbed."
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Title Annotation:tendency to blame mothers for children's emotional problems
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 3, 1985
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