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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220466 Find in a Library
Title: Cognitive Processes Associated with Child Neglect
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:31  Issue:8  Dated:August 2007  Pages:895-907
Author(s): Kathryn Hildyard; David Wolfe
Date Published: August 2007
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compared neglectful and non-neglectful mothers on information processing tasks related to child emotions, behaviors, the caregiving relationship, and recall of child-related information.
Abstract: Several hypothesized differences in the ways in which neglectful and non-neglectful mothers process child- and caregiving-related information were found. Neglectful mothers were less likely to recognize infants’ feelings of interest, more likely to see sadness and shame, more inaccurate at labeling infants’ emotions, and had a more limited emotion vocabulary. They also made more internal and stable attributions for children’s behaviors in situations where it was not clear whether a child was at risk of harm, and had poor recall of information. Depressive symptoms had little effect on these findings with the exception of information recall. Previous research proposes that neglectful parenting may reflect a failure to perceive and attend to cues and information about the child’s needs accurately, and to interpret them as requiring a response. Parental failure to respond to stimuli indicative of children’s needs for care may occur because the parent (1) did not perceive the child’s signal, (2) did not interpret the signal as requiring a parental response, (3) was unable to select an appropriate response, or (4) selected a response but was unable to implement it. This study was interested in investigating whether neglectful mothers, compared to non-neglectful mothers, would show deficits in processing of social-emotional information, similar to studies involving individuals with secure and nonsecure attachment representations noted above. A natural group design was used. Neglectful mothers (N=34) were chosen from active, chronic caseloads; non-neglectful comparison mothers (N=33) were obtained from community agencies serving families. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Neglectful parents
Index Term(s): Adolescents at risk; Child emotional abuse and neglect; Children at risk; Emotional Abuse/Harm; Home environment; Parental attitudes; Social bond theory
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