Mother and self-representations: Investigating associations with symptomatic behavior and academic competence in middle childhood

Ariela Waniel, Beatriz Priel, Avi Besser

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This article reports two studies examining the content and structural aspects of maternal and self-representations in middle childhood in two prospective studies of 9 to 11-year-old children, their stability over time and interrelations, and their contribution to symptomatology and academic functioning. In Study 1 (N = 169), content and structural dimensions of participants' open-ended narratives of self and mother were assessed, and their factor structure was replicated across two consecutive measurement waves carried out a year apart. In Study 2 (N = 137), using an independent sample, the authors investigated the associations of self- and maternal representations with teachers' subsequent reports of children's internalizing and externalizing symptomatology and academic competence. It was assumed that dimensions of self-representations played a mediating role in the prediction of children's symptomatology and competence by their maternal representations. Results corroborated the existence of interdependent but distinct representations of self and mother in middle childhood, as well as the stability over time of the structural and thematic aspects within each representation. The content of the self- and maternal representations was found to associate with observed symptomatic behavior, while their structure associated with children's academic competence. In addition, results indicated that self-representation content mediates the association of maternal representation content with subsequent symptomatic behavior. Findings are discussed in the light of the differentiation and interdependence of self- and maternal representations in middle childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-266
Number of pages44
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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