The Knowledge of Infant Development Study
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The Knowledge of Infant Development Study. Maureen Thompson and Lynn Loutzenhiser, Ph.D. University of Regina. Results

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Maureen Thompson and Lynn Loutzenhiser, Ph.D. University of Regina

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Maureen thompson and lynn loutzenhiser ph d university of regina

The Knowledge of Infant Development Study

Maureen Thompson and Lynn Loutzenhiser, Ph.D.

University of Regina

  • Results

  • Hypothesis: Men who show greater conformity to masculine norms, and women who show less conformity to feminine norms, would have fewer child care experiences and less knowledge of infant development.

  • Result: Men who showed greater conformity to masculine norms had significantly lower KIDI scores, r = -.321, p < .05. The extent to which women conformed to feminine norms had no significant correlation to their KIDI scores, r = .276, p < .05.

  • Discussion

  • As expected, women had significantly more knowledge of infant development and more experience with infants then men. This result was expected because female roles encourage women to be caregivers at an early age, resulting in more experience and knowledge then men .

  • As expected, scores from the Catalog of Previous Experience with Infants and KIDI scores were significantly correlated for both men and women. This result was expected because experience informs knowledge.

  • As expected, men who showed greater conformity to masculine norms have fewer child care experiences and less knowledge of infant development than men who show less conformity to masculine norms. This result was expected because of the notion that women are primary caregivers to infants in traditional sex roles, therefore, the stronger a man conforms to masculine norms, the less he may deem it necessary to learn about infant development.

Methods

  • Female Participants filled out the Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory (CFNI; Mahalik, J.R., Morray, E.B., Coonerty-Femiano, A., Ludlow, L.H., Slattery, S.M., & Smiler, A., 2005).

  • Male Participants filled out the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory (CMNI; Mahalik, J.R., Locke, B.D., Ludlow, L.H., Diemer, M.A., Scott, R.P.J., Gottfried, M.G., 2003).

    Sample

  • Participants consist of 131 childless undergraduate students, 62.6% were female and 37.4% were male, from the University of Regina Psychology Participant Pool.

  • Average age of female respondents was 20.5 years, and

  • average age of male respondents was 21.5 years.

  • Results

  • Hypothesis: Men will have fewer childcare experiences and knowledge of infant development than women

  • Result: When compared to women, men scored significantly lower on the KIDI, t(129) = 3.36, p < .001, and the Catalog of Previous Experience with Infants, t(129) = 2.98, p < .004.

  • Hypothesis: previous childcare experiences would be significantly associated with knowledge of infant development for both men and women.

  • Result: Higher previous child care experiences are significantly correlated to higher KIDI scores for both men and women, r = .329, p < .01.

  • Abstract

  • This study sought to understand how knowledge of infant development is influenced by previous childcare experiences and sex roles, while also comparing sex differences in childless men and women. It was hypothesized that men would have fewer childcare experiences and knowledge of infant development than women, and that previous childcare experiences would contribute to knowledge of infant development. It was also hypothesized that men who show greater conformity to masculine norms, and women who show less conformity to feminine norms, would have fewer child care experiences and less knowledge of infant development. Results indicated there was a significant difference in knowledge of infant development and previous childcare experience scores between men and women, with women scoring higher. Also, previous childcare experiences are significantly correlated to knowledge of infant development scores. Lastly, men whose scores showed greater conformity to masculine norms were significantly correlated to lower scores on knowledge of child development, however, women whose scores showed less conformity to the feminine norms were not significantly correlated to lower knowledge of infant development scores.

  • Introduction

  • Mothers and fathers of infants often relate to their infants in different ways. For example, mothers are often considered the primary caregivers, (i.e.. responsible for feeding, changing, and comforting the infant), while fathers are seen as secondary caregivers (Palkovitz, 1984) . Fathers are also often less involved in childcare tasks with their infants than mothers (Cook, Jones, Dick, & Singh, 2005) One implication of this discrepancy may be due to levels of experience, or knowledge of infant development.

  • Mothers may have more previous childcare experiences and a better understanding of infant development than fathers, thus mothers may have more realistic expectation of infant behaviours. Although this may be possible, few researchers have empirically examined differences between men and women’s previous childcare experiences and their knowledge of infant development, as most of these studies focus solely

  • Introduction

  • on mothers (Huang, Caughy, Genevro, & Miller, 2005; Hess, Teti, Hussey-Gardner, 2004; Benasich & Brooks-Cunn, 1996; McBride, 1990; Stevens, 1984). Moreover, studies that look at these two variables have only included parent samples, therefore, it is unknown whether men and women are different on these variables before parenthood. Furthermore, variables that may relate to previous childcare experience and knowledge of infant development have rarely been examined (Huang, Caughy, Genevro, & Miller, 2005; Hess, Teti, Hussey-Gardner, 2004; Larossa, 1998; Lamb, 1995). As researchers have linked sex role norms to father involvement with infants (Palkovitz, 1984), sex role norms may also be linked to these areas.

    • Objectives

  • In order to increase our understanding of men and women’s previous childcare experiences and knowledge of child development, we need to examine not only parents, but men and women who have not yet become parents . Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine similarities and differences in young men and women’s previous childcare experiences, knowledge of infant development and whether these are associated with sex role affiliation.

  • Hypotheses

  • It was hypothesized that men would have fewer childcare experiences and knowledge of infant development than women

  • It was hypothesized that previous childcare experiences would be significantly associated with knowledge of infant development for both men and women.

  • It was also hypothesized that men who show greater conformity to masculine norms, and women who show less conformity to feminine norms, would have fewer child care experiences and less knowledge of infant development.

  • Methods

  • The surveys were filled out on-line and included:

  • Knowledge of Infant Development Questionnaire (KIDI; MacPhee, 1985).

  • Previous Childcare Experiences (Catalog of Previous Experience with Infants; MacPhee, 1985).

    • Discussion

    • Contrary to expectations, women who showed less conformity to feminine norms did not have fewer child care experiences and less knowledge of infant development than women who showed more conformity. This could be due to the instrument, as it does not tap many areas of chid caring. It may also be because the female role often involves childcare, whether the female individual conforms to feminine norms or not. Therefore, one may not conform to feminine norms, but still have much experience and knowledge about infants.

    • Future Research

    • Include expectant or new parents to see if there is a shift in knowledge during the expectancy or transition to parenthood period.

    • Use a sex norm instrument that includes traditional childrearing sub-scales to see if women who adhere to more traditional parental roles have more childcare experience or knowledge of child development than women who do not.


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