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NCJ Number: 204307 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Perceived and Actual Academic Competence in Maltreated Children
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect  Volume:25  Issue:1  Dated:January 2001  Pages:33-45
Author(s): E. Milling Kinard
Editor(s): Richard D. Krugman; John M. Leventhal
Date Published: January 2001
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
Grant Number: MH42739;MH15161
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined discrepancies between perceived scholastic competence and actual academic achievement in a sample of maltreated children and a comparison group of nonmaltreated children.
Abstract: Perceived academic competence represents one facet of children’s views of themselves. While previous studies suggest that maltreatment is not related to self-perceptions of academic competence, they did not consider disparities between perceived and actual competence in maltreated children. The current study addressed two questions: 1) do maltreated children differ from nonmaltreated children in the accuracy of estimating academic competence; and 2) are discrepancies between children’s perceived and actual academic competence related to children’s perceptions of support from mothers, teachers, and peers. The study sample consisted of a group of maltreated children (n=195) and a comparison group of nonmaltreated children (n=179), ages 6-12. The groups were matched on gender, age, ethnicity, and birth order; socioeconomic ranking of neighborhood; and family structure. Based on interviews with the students and their mothers, the researchers found that although maltreated children had significantly lower achievement scores than did nonmaltreated children, the two groups did not differ on perceived academic competence. With regard to discrepancies between perceived and actual competence, maltreated children were more likely than nonmaltreated children to overestimate their level of competence, particularly for reading and arithmetic. Overall, children who reported low maternal support were more likely to overestimate reading competence than were those who reported average or high maternal support. When maltreatment status was considered, maltreated children with low support seemed likely to overestimate abilities, whereas nonmaltreated children with low support seemed likely to underestimate competence. The researchers conclude that maltreated children may overestimate their abilities as a defense against feelings of inadequacy they may feel in other environments. The study findings suggest that understanding children’s self-perceptions of their academic competence may be useful for understanding their actual school performance. For maltreated children in particular, research efforts are needed to explore the motivations underlying their increased tendencies to overestimate their abilities. References and 1 table
Main Term(s): Child abuse
Index Term(s): Abused-nonabused child comparisons; Adolescents at risk; Behavior patterns; Behavioral science research; Educational levels
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