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Child Dev. 1987 Aug;58(4):964-75.

Predictors and correlates of anger toward and punitive control of toddlers by adolescent mothers.


In this study, the impact of rejection/acceptance experienced during the adolescent mother's childhood, social support received after the baby's birth, and infant irritability on angry, punitive maternal behavior are tested, and possible links between such maternal behavior and indices of child anger and noncompliance, low confidence, and social withdrawal are investigated. 40 mothers who gave birth as adolescents and their 2-year-old children participated in the study. When mothers experienced both rejection during childhood and little support from a partner after birth, they were likely to exhibit angry and punitive parenting. Infant irritability did not predict maternal behavior. Angry and punitive mothers had children who were angry and noncompliant and who distanced themselves from their mothers. Taken as a main effect, infant irritability was unrelated to later child behavior. However, the association between maternal behavior and 2 aspects of child behavior was stronger for children as irritable at 3 months postpartum: when irritable infants had angry and punitive mothers they were more likely to be angry and noncompliant and to exhibit less confidence than less irritable infants who experienced the same pattern of parenting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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