Date

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Adviser

Laible, Deborah

Abstract

The current study examined the association between maternal autonomy support and 24-month-olds’ instrumental helping, empathic helping, and sharing. It was predicted that toddlers’ inhibitory control would mediate the relationship between maternal autonomy support and both sharing and empathic helping. Seventy-six mother-toddler dyads participated in lab tasks to measure mothers’ provision of autonomy support during a puzzle task, toddlers’ instrumental helping, empathic helping, and sharing, and children’s inhibitory control during two delay tasks. Mothers also provided reports of children’s inhibitory control. Maternal autonomy support was not directly related to instrumental helping, empathic helping, or sharing, but was positively associated with observational measures of toddlers’ inhibitory control. Inhibitory control was positively associated with empathic helping and sharing. A mediation model revealed maternal autonomy support was positively associated with toddlers’ sharing via toddlers’ inhibitory control. Implications for the study of individual differences in early prosocial behavior are discussed.

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Psychology Commons

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