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Mother-Son Relationship Important for Emotional Growth

Mother-Son Relationship Important for Emotional GrowthA new study discovers a mother’s relationship with her children during youth is important for the child’s emotional growth.

University of Reading researchers found that an insecure relationship between a mother and her son leads to more behavior problems later in childhood.

The analysis by Dr. Pasco Fearon, from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, looked at 69 studies involving almost 6,000 children aged 12 and younger.

The quality of the relationship between children and their parents is important to children’s development, but past research on the link between attachment and development has been inconsistent.

The volume, range and diversity of earlier studies made it difficult to get a clear picture. However this new analysis has been able to pull together evidence from past research to answer a number of scientific questions around attachment.

According to attachment theory, children with secure attachments expect and receive support and comfort from their care givers.

In contrast, children with insecure attachments have requests discouraged, rejected, or responded to inconsistently, which is thought to make them vulnerable to developing behavioral problems.

The new research sought to clarify the extent to which bonds between children and their mothers early in life affect children’s later behavioral problems, such as aggression or hostility.

The studies included in the review used a range of methods for assessing children’s behavior problems, including parent and teacher questionnaires and direct observations.

Dr. Fearon said: “The central question we posed was whether attachment insecurity was associated with behavior problems across all the studies conducted to date. The results showed quite clearly that the answer to this question is a firm yes.

“More specifically, our analysis showed that children with insecure attachments to their mothers, particularly boys, had significantly more behavioral problems, even when the behavioral problems were measured years later.”

The study also recommends the need for treatment studies focusing on attachment and for more research on the significance of attachment between children and their fathers.

Source: University of Reading

Mother-Son Relationship Important for Emotional Growth

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Mother-Son Relationship Important for Emotional Growth. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 15, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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