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NCJ Number: 220598 Find in a Library
Title: Stress and Anger as Contextual Factors and Preexisting Cognitive Schemas: Predicting Parental Child Maltreatment Risk
Journal: Child Maltreatment  Volume:12  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:325-337
Author(s): Christina M. Rodriguez; Michael J. Richardson
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined aspects of social information processing (SIP) theory (Milner, 2000) in predicting the risk for physical maltreatment in a sample of 115 parents.
Abstract: Some components of SIP theory were supported. According to SIP theory, parents maintain a collection of parenting-related pre-existing cognitive schemas (e.g., beliefs about discipline, about their child, about the nature of their parenting, and parent-child interactions) that theoretically precede cognitions prompted by processing social information that arises from new parent-child interactions. Such pre-existing schemas then influence cognitive processing at the subsequent stages, such as when a parent considers what is acceptable in children's behaviors and what type of discipline should be applied when behaviors are unacceptable. With respect to the cognitive schemas, the current findings generally support the role of external locus-of-control, i.e., attributing one's behavior to external stimuli rather than one's own characteristics. This personality feature was significantly associated with abuse potential, overreactive disciplinary style, and physical aggression toward children. Locus-of-control became a factor, however, only when it contributed to stress and anger. The current findings did not support the role of pre-existing parental expectations for child development as determining risk for abusive parenting. An accurate knowledge of developmental norms for children was not significant in predicting parent-child aggression, overreactive discipline, or child abuse potential. Although SIP theory holds promise for explaining and predicting abusive parenting, continued research is necessary in order to refine the pathways from parental characteristics to child maltreatment. The key instrument for obtaining information from the 115 parents was the Perspective-Taking Scale of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, a measure of empathy. The Perspective-Taking Scale suggests the pre-existing ability to develop perspectives out of sensitivity to others. 2 tables and 60 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Abusing parents; Anger; Behavior under stress; Child abuse; Child abuse causes; Child abuse prevention; Parental attitudes; Parental influence; Stress management
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