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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999 Dec;67(6):905-16.

Dysphoria-related bias in maternal ratings of children.

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Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, USA.


Circumstantial evidence suggests that dysphoria creates a negative bias in caregivers' descriptions of child functioning. Past research has confounded informant and setting, making it unclear whether caregivers are biased or veridically reporting worse behavior in the home. In the present study, 137 low-income mothers watched videotapes of their own child and a control child performing a frustrating task. Mothers then completed 18 items assessing different positive and negative behaviors and emotions. The Beck Depression Inventory, The Differential Emotions Scale--Form IV, and The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were used to assess maternal dysphoria. Correlations between mothers' dysphoria and descriptions of the control child showed small but significant dysphoria-related bias. Dysphoria provided approximately 10% predictive increment for mothers' ratings of their own children after partialing out independent judges' ratings. Results support an emotion-appraisal model predicting dysphoric bias.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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