Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Examining motherly fears

Date:
October 3, 2011
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Neighborhood poverty is likely to make a mother more fearful about letting her children play outdoors, according to a new study.

Neighborhood poverty is likely to make a mother more fearful about letting her children play outdoors, according to a new study by sociologists at Rice University and Stanford University.

"It's no secret that children play outdoors less now than in recent decades, and research shows maternal fear as one reason why," said Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, Rice assistant professor of sociology. She co-authored a paper in the October issue of the journal Family Relations with Ariela Schachter, a Ph.D. student in sociology at Stanford.

"This study addresses reasons why mothers do or do not let their children play outside," Kimbro said.

Kimbro and Schachter theorize that a mother's fear of her child playing outside is a major component of her decisions regarding the child's free playtime. They tested maternal, household and neighborhood characteristics that may be related to maternal fear and discovered the following:

  • A mother's household economic status, education, employment and physical/mental health all influence maternal fear.
  • Perception of a neighborhood's collective efficacy (shared values and goals, social support) is associated with maternal fear. Mothers who believe they live in neighborhoods with shared values and goals are less likely to be fearful of their child playing outdoors, and vice versa.
  • Poverty and the percentage of blacks in a neighborhood are associated with increased maternal fear.

"It's not entirely surprising that poverty aligns with greater maternal fear," Kimbro said. "When considering the characteristics associated with many impoverished neighborhoods -- lack of playgrounds, poor sidewalks and the potential for crime -- it makes sense that mothers might be more fearful."

Kimbro said that contrary to what one might expect, mothers are more concerned with issues of social support than crime rates.

"The fear of children playing outside is not completely rational," she said. "You might think that a logical response is to keep your child inside when crime rates are higher, but our research shows that factors closer to the mother, such as how she feels about her neighbors, are more likely to influence her feelings of fear.

"Children's outdoor play is an important indicator of overall healthy development," Kimbro said. Although neighborhood poverty strongly influences maternal fear, mothers of sound mental health living in impoverished areas are less likely to be fearful of their children playing outside.

"Our results suggest that efforts to minimize depression among mothers living in poverty could have significant, positive impacts on parenting behaviors and particularly in the promotion of children's outdoor play," Kimbro said.

The study, "Neighborhood Poverty and Maternal Fears of Children's Outdoor Play," is the third paper to come from Kimbro's broader research project exploring the links between neighborhoods and children's outdoor play using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study.

The research was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its national program, Active Living Research. Additional support for the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and a consortium of private foundations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Examining motherly fears." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003132212.htm>.
Rice University. (2011, October 3). Examining motherly fears. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003132212.htm
Rice University. "Examining motherly fears." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003132212.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins