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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

Print version ISSN 0102-7972On-line version ISSN 1678-7153


OLIVEIRA, Débora Silva de  and  LOPES, Rita de Cássia Sobreira. "Mum, I want to stay with you...": firstborn's dependence behaviours in the context of a sibling's gestation. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2008, vol.21, n.2, pp.212-220. ISSN 0102-7972.

The study investigated the firstborn's dependence behaviors in the context of a second child's pregnancy. Five preschool firstborns and their respective mothers, in the third trimester of pregnancy, took part in the study. The Fables Test was used in order to assess children's perceptions, and a semi-structured interview in order to investigate mothers' perceptions. The results revealed a dependence behavior tendency in the firstborn. There were also independence behaviors suggesting ambivalence. The results indicate that a second child's pregnancy is a special moment for the firstborn who is no longer an only child and has to learn to share maternal care. The investigation concerning changes in family relationships and their implications for each family member are of fundamental importance for understanding human development. This article represents a contribution to the literature which has not studied the extent to which the firstborn's behavior is affected by the presence of a sibling already during pregnancy.

Keywords : Dependence behaviours; firstborn; maternal perceptions; second child's gestation.

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