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Family psychology

Sobkin V. S., Veraksa A. N., Bukhalenkova D. A., Fedotova A. V., Khalutina U. A., Yakupova V. A. (2016). The connection of socio-demographic factors and child-parent relationships to the psychological aspects of children’s development. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 9(4), 106-122.

Preschool childhood is a time of rapid development. During this period a child`s interaction with significant adults plays a very important role. The parent, as a mediator, defines the “zone of proximal development” (Vygotsky, 1984). The common assumption is that to determine a parent’s position, it is important to acknowledge both socio-demographic factors and the parameters which define the socio-psychological aspects of parent-child relationship. Hence, the type of research where a child’s psychological development is studied in the context of the socio-demographic and socio-psychological factors which determine the social situation of development, is very promising.

Based on our previous research (Sobkin, Marich, 2002; Cheie, Veraksa, 2015), a program of experimental research intended to determine the interconnections between the socio-demographic and socio-psychological parameters of parent-child relationships, and the level of a child’s psychic development, was designed. The research was based upon the material obtained through testing 59 children between 5 and 7 years old with specially collected psychological testing methods (Veraksa A.N. etc), as well as from the results of a special sociological questionnaire presented to their mothers (Sobkin V.S. etc). The research was carried out in 2014-2015 in municipal kindergartens of Moscow.

Among the socio-demographic factors analyzed, the most significant results were related to the child’s gender, the family structure, and the mother’s education. Thus, boys showed higher results on visual memory tests, and girls scored better on tests for self-control and social intelligence (higher ability to detect the reason for someone else’s negative emotions). Children from single-parent families had better results on verbal memory tests, but scored lower on those for self-control. Also they had less ability for decentration. The differences in mothers’ educational levels influenced the number and intensity of children’s fears, as well as their inclinations to avoid fearsome situations.

The analysis of features of the parenting position (such as attitude toward one’s future, positive/negative emotional state during the interaction with the child, authoritative/ democratic approach to upbringing) revealed two different strategies which children used to perform executive tasks.

Thus, the present research showed a significant degree of essential connections between socio-demographic factors and parent-child relationships to the specifics of a child’s mental development.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2016.0409
Keywords:  child development, preschool age, social situation of development, parentchild relationships, executive functions, social intelligence
About the authorsSobkin, Vladimir S. / Veraksa, Aleksandr N.  / Yakupova, Vera A.  / Bukhalenkova, Darya A. / Fedotova, Aleksandra V. / Khalutina, Ulia A.

Available Online: 12.01.2016

Bogdanova M. V., Rusyaeva I. A., Vyelgzhanina A. O. (2016). Gender and age aspects of child psychological defenses in child-mother relationships. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 9(3), 141-158.

The high level of stress in modern society poses a need to study family factors and resources for the development of children’s defense mechanisms in the current social environment. This study investigates correlations between maternal and child psychological defense mechanisms, using interviews, a structured clinical survey, projective drawing, and a projective game. Analysis of data from 240 people (120 children and 120 mothers) revealed specifics of the formation of psychological defense mechanisms among children aged 4 to 12 years in child-mother relationships. We suggest that maternal and child defense mechanisms have some isomorphic traits, but the level and quality of isomorphism changes with each age period of the child. Certain defensive mechanisms of mother and child appear with the same frequency. The child’s gender influences the correlation between the mother’s and child’s psychological defense mechanisms. Initially, children are more likely to directly copy defense mechanisms observed from the mother’s behavior. As they grow older, they use defenses that they have learned consciously. Based on empirical data, we also found a correlation between the maturity of the maternal psychological defense mechanisms and specifics of child psychological defense mechanisms. We propose that the maturity of maternal psychological defense mechanisms has the greatest meaning for child psychological defense mechanisms at the earliest stages of ontogenesis — it provides consistency between the mother’s own psychological defense mechanisms and the psychological defense mechanisms that she teaches her child.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2016.0310
Keywords:  psychological defense mechanisms, coping strategies, child-mother relationships, maternal teaching
About the authorsBogdanova, Maria V. / Rusyaeva, Irina A. / Vyelgzhanina, Anastasia O.

Available Online: 09.30.2016

Vasilyeva M., Laski E., Veraksa A., Shen C. (2016). Development of children’s early understanding of numeric structure. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 9(3), 76-94.

Understanding of the base-10 structure of multi-digit numbers is one of the critical aspects in early mathematics learning. It has been documented that children from different countries vary in their use of base-10 representations. Questions concerning potential sources of this variability have been debated for decades. One commonly posited explanation is that some languages provide explicit cues about the structure of multi-digit numbers, facilitating the development of base-10 representations. In the present study, we tested this view against an alternative view, positing that variability in children’s learning of numeric structure may reflect differences in their experiences with numbers. The study examined kindergartners and first-graders from four countries: Taiwan, South Korea, the USA, and Russia. Results showed that the use of base-10 representations by American first-graders increased dramatically over the last decades, following changes in curricular guidelines. First-graders across the four countries showed some differences in performance (however, not consistent with the language account), whereas kindergartners performed comparably despite the differences in their languages. The results suggest that the nature of early math instruction may be critical for children’s developing understanding of numeric structure.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2016.0305
Keywords:  mathematics learning, numeric system, numeric representations, cross-national study, kindergartners
About the authorsVasilyeva, Marina / Veraksa, Aleksandr N.  / Shen, Chen / Laski, Elida

Available Online: 09.30.2016

Lopukhova, O. G., Kashshapova, E. V. (2015). Fear of childbirth in pregnant women: External and internal factors. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 8(4), 114-125.

Fear of childbirth (FOC) is an important psychological problem that is studied worldwide because it affects the well-being of pregnant women. However, in Russia, this problem does not receive adequate attention among researchers. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the conditionality of fear of childbirth (FOC) in pregnant women by external and internal factors, which we assumed were the reasons for this fear. As external factors, we considered socio-demographic indicators (e.g., age, marital status, level of education, housing, and the attitude of relatives towards pregnancy) as well as indicators of gynecological history (e.g., the term of pregnancy, the outcome of previous pregnancies, and pregnancy complications). As internal (psychological) factors of the fear of childbirth, we considered personal anxiety as well as general inclination towards and negative consequences of different fears (20 types of fears and phobias were examined). The study was conducted with a Russian sample of 76 women at different stages of pregnancy and with different socio-demographic indicators and gynecological histories. The analysis of the results showed the absence of significant differences between women who were pregnant with FOC and those without this fear in terms of the external factors considered in this study. According to the study’s data, a general inclination of women to fear is associated with fear of childbirth. However, the findings for the women with FOC did not indicate significant positive correlations between the level of this fear and exposure to any of the 20 types of fear and phobias measured in the study. Furthermore, the results did not detect relationships between the FOC level and women’s personal anxiety. The results allow us to conclude that FOC is a separate phenomenon that is not dependent on other phobias and fears. Fear of childbirth has a subjective and highly individual genesis. It is not a direct consequence of objective factors, and it cannot be predicted based on women’s personal characteristics (in particular, anxiety). For further study of this problem, we suggest that researchers identify different types of FOC and describe their content as a way to help develop practical methods of providing psychological assistance for women during pregnancy.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2015.0410
Keywords:  fear of childbirth, FOC, pregnancy; personal anxiety, fears, phobias
About the authorsLopukhova, Olga G.  / Kashshapova, Elena V.

Available Online: 12.30.2015

Yakupova V.A., Zakharova E.I., Abubakirov A.N. (2015). The mental state of women with an IVF pregnancy. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 8(1), 14-21.

An in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy is stressful both financially and emotionally. Patients undergoing an IVF procedure often have already had infertility and reproductive losses. Pregnancy through IVF involves the increased risk of various medical complications. Experts around the world are actively engaged in studying the specifics of the mental state of participants in IVF programs during pregnancy. Of critical importance is the issue of providing psychological support for couples who are preparing for and who have received an IVF pregnancy. 

The aim of our research was to investigate the mental state of women participating in an IVF program. The study involved 224 pregnant women in the second and third trimesters: 62 women with an IVF pregnancy and 162 women who conceived naturally. The study took place at the Kulakov Scientific Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology in Moscow, Russia. All the study participants had encountered medical complications during their pregnancy. No significant differences were identified in mental well-being in the two groups; this finding suggests that somatic complications during pregnancy are a general source of anxiety regardless of the reason for their occurrence. The second and third trimesters of pregnancy register increased anxiety levels associated with experiences of reproductive loss and the presence of physical problems. The main resources of a woman’s personality that contribute to her self-confidence and mental stability are her professional employment and flexible behavior.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2015.0102
Keywords:  IVF, psychology of pregnancy, mental state, motherhood
About the authorsYakupova, Vera A.  / Zakharova, Elena I.  / Abubakirov, Ajdar N.

Available Online: 03.31.2015

Rodrigues T.F. (2014). Meaning in couples relationships. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 7(3), 126-135.

Based on psycholinguistics and L. Vygotsky’s (2007) theories on sign, meaning and sense categories, as later discussed by A. Leontiev (2004, 2009), we present a case study that focuses on the intricacies of a love relationship for a woman who remained in a painful marriage. Interview material is presented in a Relational-Historical Psychology theoretical framework to provide central categories of meaning and sense. This is understood as a privileged method for apprehending the uniqueness of a human being. To segment the qualitative material, we used the “Analysis of the Nuclei of Meanings for the Apprehension of the Constitution of Sense,” by Aguiar and Ozella (2006, 2013). This approach seeks to discriminate the meanings and senses that constitute the content of a speech sample.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2014.0311
Keywords:  meaning, sense, core meaning, activity, love, relationship
About the authorsRodrigues, Tâmara Ferreira

Available Online: 09.30.2014

Razina N.V. (2014) Attitudes to motherhood in different cultures. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 8(2), 93-104.

The study of motherhood is a promising and relevant field of psychology. This article represents the results of a study in which a socio-psychological analysis of reproductive attitudes and demographic behaviour was conducted. The study also shows the relationship between attitudes related to motherhood and women’s cultural affiliations.

The factors that contribute to the nature of attitudes towards motherhood and the interaction between these factors were studied. According to the results of this study, we distinguished the most significant characteristics of the attitudes to motherhood that influence the nature of the relationship between a mother and her unborn child.

The model of the development of attitudes to motherhood proposed by R. V. Ovcharova was detailed. We considered the influence of factors on the nature of attitudes to motherhood as well as the influence of factors on each other.

The results of this study allow us to describe the psychological portraits of women with different attitudes to motherhood.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2014.0209
Keywords:  motherhood, image of the child, attitude towards motherhood
About the authorsRazina, Natalya V.

Available Online: 06.30.2014

Carla Anauate (2013). Psychological problems of late adoption as observed in Brazil through a cultural-historical approach. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 6(4), 176-185

This work discusses certain cultural-historical concepts relating to late adoption. This term is used for the adoption of children over 2 years old. Unfortunately most people do not wish to adopt children over 2 years old. Generally they seek newborn babies, which are a rare population, probably because of birth control campaigns. The children who are available in orphanages are older children who are unwanted. This paper tries to deal with this issue emphasizing that relationships are built within a family, transforming those involved. It lays out principles for a successful adoption and illustrates this matter with a case study. Relationships should be provided so that people can interact. This interaction will lead to the transformation of all of those involved within the established relationship, which constitute the human being. We intend to demystify the difficult matter of late adoption, which is one of the key aspects concerning the return of the child to an orphanage. The adaptation of late adopted children is said to be more difficult, but when we believe that human beings can change and be modified through the relationships they establish, we see a promising possibility for late adoption. Late adoption can be successful when we view it from a relational point of view, stressing that relationships transform all the individuals involved within the group.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2013.0416
Keywords:  adoption, relationship, mediation, transformation, children, cultural-historical
About the authorsAnauate, Carla

Available Online: 01.15.2014

Burmenskaya G.V. (2009). Child's Attachment to Mother as the Basis of Mental Development Typology. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 2, 385-403

The article shows the role of the attachment system (child-mother interactions) in development of a wide spectrum of individual personality characteristics. Emotional attachment of the child to mother is considered as a complicated system of internal regulation and a basis of typology of mental development. Results of a series of empirical studies show the connection between the type of attachment, formed at the early stages of child development, and characteristics of his/her autonomy, consciousness (self-concept and self-esteem) and empathy in preschool and middle childhood.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2009.0019
Keywords:  attachment, typology of mental development, autonomy, self-concept, self-esteem, empathy, preschool and middle childhood.
About the authorsBurmenskaya, Galina V.

Barsky Ph.I., Gindina E.D., Lobaskova M.M., Malykh S.B. (2010). Perception of Family Environment with Russian Adolescent Twins: Possible Genotype-Environment Correlation. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 3, 412- 430

Gene-environment correlations have been studied in behavior genetics since the beginning of the 1980s, including genetic effect on the perceived family environment; however, the majority of studies have been based on retrospective self-reports. The current study is meant to analyze the sources of variance (complementary genetic factors, shared and non-shared environmental variance) in perceived family environment with Russian adolescent twins. Perception of family environment was measured with the Russian version of Family Environment Scale (Moos & Moos, 1981). The structural equation model in "Mx"(Neale, Boker, Xie, & Maes, 2004) was employed to estimate the influence of genetic and environmental factors on adolescents' self-reports. The environmental variance components are prevalent for most FES scales (6 of 10). The shared environment was significant for 3 primary grades and the Organization factor, the complementary genetic variance was revealed for 2 primary grades and the Expressiveness-Control super-order factor. These results are generally consistent with previously reported moderate heritability of FES scales, although the heritabilities for the Conflict scale and the Structure super-order factor appear to be relatively high. The gene-environment correlation might be a possible explanation for these findings.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2010.0019
Keywords:  perceptions of family environment, environment, genotype, twins, gene-environment correlation, Family Environment Scale, adolescence
About the authorsBarsky, Philipp I. / Gindina, Elena D. / Lobaskova, Marina M. / Malykh, Sergey B.

Kuleshova K.V. (2012). The Influence of a Pregnant Woman’s Social Well-Being on the Quality of Her Life. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 5, 219-228

The quality of a pregnant woman’s life in Russia is usually much lower than in any European country. Because of this situation it is most important to look for psychological resources that could enable pregnant women to have a higher quality of life. My empirical research showed that pregnant women who are not officially married feel fear and anxiety during their pregnancy more often than those who are married. There are statistically relevant differences between the control group (the group of officially married pregnant women) and unmarried pregnant women in their level of comfort during pregnancy. Unmarried pregnant women also feel such emotions as guilt, remorse, shame, and shyness more often (these data were obtained by means of C.E. Izard’s method). Data obtained through a clinical interview showed that pregnant women who are not married often feel that they are not being protected by society, have financial problems, and experience pain during the delivery of the child. They also feel guilt when they think of bringing up their children (“I won’t be able to give my child all those things that I could possibly give him or her if I were married”); and they are quite often ashamed of their pregnancy when they communicate with their parents and other relatives and with their friends, acquaintances, and doctors. The research showed no direct influence of such factors as the material wealth of a pregnant woman’s family on her emotional state. The number of children that women expect to have depends on their level of education but not on the level of the material wealth of their families.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2012.0013
Keywords:  a pregnant woman, social well-being, an emotional state
About the authorsKuleshova, Kseniya V.