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Dev Psychol. 2004 Mar;40(2):234-43.

Predicting infant maltreatment in low-income families: the interactive effects of maternal attributions and child status at birth.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.


Maternal attributions and child neonatal status at birth were assessed as predictors of infant maltreatment (harsh parenting and safety neglect). The population included low-income, low-education families who were primarily Hispanic. Child maltreatment during the 1st year of life (N = 73) was predicted by neonatal status (low Apgar scores, preterm status), as moderated by mothers' attributions. The highest levels of maltreatment were shown within dyads that included a mother with low perceived power and an at-risk infant. Partial support was found for maternal depressive symptoms as mediators of harsh parenting among at-risk infants. It is suggested that lack of perceived parental power constrains investment in protective relationships and fosters sensitization to potential threat.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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