The effect of maternal education on childrearing attitudes and behaviors: A view of mothers from El Salvador

Myriam Kline, Fordham University


Maternal attitudes and behaviors have a significant impact on a child's intellectual, social, and emotional development. This study examined the effect of maternal education on the self-reported childrearing attitudes and behaviors of Latina mothers with young children. This study also sought to explain the influence of acculturation on parenting attitudes and behaviors. In addition, the relationship of maternal access, i.e., the amount of time that a mother spends talking, playing and reading with her child, to childrearing attitudes and behaviors was explored. Fifty-one mothers from El Salvador or of Salvadoran descent participated in this study and based their responses on children ranging in age from 2 to 6 years. Childrearing attitudes and behaviors were measured via the Parent As A Teacher (PAAT) inventory. The PAAT generates an overall parenting attitude score as well as subset scores in the following areas of parenting: Creativity, Frustration, Control, Play, and Teaching-Learning. The Parent Behavior Checklist-Long Form (PBC) assesses two areas of parenting behaviors: Expectations, and Nurturing. Acculturation was measured through the Bidimensional Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (BAS). The results of analysis of variance procedures indicate that lower maternal education is associated with a greater need to exert control over children. In addition, it was found that less educated and less acculturated mothers were less understanding of the importance of play in child development. Finally, the results indicate that more time spent talking, playing, and reading with a child is associated with less frustration in childrearing and more instances of nurturing behaviors. The findings of this study have implications for parenting education, particularly for mothers with lower levels of educational attainment.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Kline, Myriam, "The effect of maternal education on childrearing attitudes and behaviors: A view of mothers from El Salvador" (2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3125016.