Need conflicts of pregnancy and the learning of need related stimuli
Haughey, David Wallace
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This research studied pregnancy and marital status in relation to stimuli connoting needs related to mothering. The particular needs under investigation were the need to give nurturance (to mother) and the need to receive succorance (to be mothered). In the formulation of this study, pregnancy was viewed as a development stage towards motherhood, a crisis period marked by increased anxiety resulting from changes in underlying need states. The early-stages of pregnancy are characterized by a biological and psychological unity or mother and fetus during which increased passive receptive tendencies in the pregnant woman lead to heightened need succorance conflicts. The later stages commence with biological differentiation, and, promoted by conditions or need gratification, adjustment stability, and anticipation of future rewards from motherhood satisfactions, initiates psychological differentiation. Child-centered needs become more strongly aroused leading to intensified conflict investing need nurturance, conflicts which are derived from early childhood experiences. The unmarried pregnant woman, due to prior adjustment problems involving intense need succorance conflicts and current frustration of this need, continues to manifest more intense need succorance conflicts throughout her pregnancy. The hypothesis was advanced that conflicts associated with both need nurturance and need succorance would be increased during pregnancy, and these conflicts would increase differentially for married and unmarried women. The independent variable of pregnancy was defined by two equated groups of married and unmarried primiparae examined during the third trimester of pregnancy; a control group of women who had never been pregnant was also examined. Need conflict was inferred from inhibition of responsibility to a cognitive task involving need related stimuli. A conventional serial learning problem for stimuli connoting need Nurturance and need Succorance was utilized. Stimuli were categorized for need connotation by the consensus of judges' ratings; the judges included both women and experienced clinical psychologists. A Nurturant, Succorant, and Neutral word list were constructed. Inhibition scores were computed from the increase in trials requires to learn the critical lists from the neutral lists. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D)--Boston University
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