Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP
Virginia Salzer, Ph.D., Chairperson
Elizabeth Gosch, Ph.D.
Social problem solving is a vital aspect in children's social development. Parents play a role in influencing their children's social problem solving styles through modeling. Mothers and fathers model different social problem solving styles; this may be explained by the "maternal gatekeeping theory." This is a situation in which the mother's beliefs about the father inhibit his involvement. If there are differences in the ways in which mothers and fathers model social problem solving skills, these may influence their children's social development in a negative or positive manner. This study investigated how mothers impact the fathers in joint problem solving with their child. It was predicted that: 1) Fathers' behaviors will change when they interact with their children alone as compared with the times when they interact with their children in the presence of their spouses. 2) The degree to which fathers' behaviors change will be related to the degree to which mothers engage in gatekeeping behaviors. 3) The degree to which fathers' behaviors change will be related to the mothers' beliefs about the competencies of the fathers. 4) The more frequently that mothers believe that fathers are competent, the less likely will they be to engage in gatekeeping behaviors. The results indicated that fathers interact differently in the presence of mothers while engaging in social problem solving tasks and that mothers engage in gatekeeping behaviors. Fathers, when in the presence of mothers, shifted their problem orientations, not problem solving styles. Contrary to the hypothesized expectation and previous research, mothers did not engage in less gatekeeping if they perceived fathers as being competent.
Markulin, Sheryl, "Difference Between Parents Modeling During Children's Social Problem Solving" (2009). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 95.