Low-Income Latina Mothers' Expectations for Their Pregnant Daughters' Autonomy and Interdependence

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Abstract

Forty-five pregnant Latina adolescents and their mothers (23 English-speaking, 22 Spanish-speaking) were videotaped conversing about feelings and plans related to the adolescent's pregnancy. The prevalence of the mothers' messages about the daughter's reliance on the family unit (interdependence) and the daughter's self-sufficiency (autonomy) were related to adolescents' reported and observed feelings about their pregnancies, pending motherhood challenges, and their relationships with their mothers. Increased interdependence messages appeared to denote positive family relations among Spanish-speaking dyads, in that these adolescents reported more positive feelings about their pregnancy, perceived that their mothers felt more positive, and perceived more maternal social support and open communication. The role of interdependence messages was less clear for adolescents from English-speaking families. Higher levels of maternal autonomy messages had positive associations for both groups, in that it was related to higher disclosure about concerns about childcare needs among adolescents from English-speaking families, and about educational goals for adolescents from Spanish-speaking families.

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