Mother-Child Emotional Availability Across Cultures: Findings from Western and Non-Western Countries

  • Diane L. PutnickEmail author
  • Marc H. Bornstein
  • Dana A. Breakstone
  • Joan T. D. Suwalsky
Part of the Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Science book series (SACH, volume 7)


Positive emotional relationships between mothers and children are critical to children’s healthy development. Here, we review the literature on cross-cultural differences in emotional availability, emotional responsiveness, and affective attunement between mother and child. Although the research base for Western cultures is expanding, there is limited information available about emotional availability in non-Western cultures. Particularly lacking are cross-cultural studies in general, as well as intra-cultural studies on Asian and African cultures. Based on the limited cross-cultural work on emotional availability, we conclude that emotional availability is a broadly applicable construct and that typically functioning dyads score in the adaptive range on the Emotional Availability Scales regardless of culture. Still, small systematic variations in the emotional availability of dyads across cultures have been documented.


Down Syndrome Iron Deficiency Anemia Attachment Security Maternal Sensitivity Emotional Availability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, NICHD.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane L. Putnick
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marc H. Bornstein
    • 1
  • Dana A. Breakstone
    • 2
  • Joan T. D. Suwalsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Child and Family Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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