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J Ment Health Res Intellect Disabil. 2012 Apr 1;5(2):94-129.

Intellectual Disabilities and Neglectful Parenting: Preliminary Findings on the Role of Cognition in Parenting Risk.

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The Pennsylvania State University.


Parents with intellectual disabilities (PID) are over-represented in the child protective services (CPS) system. This study examined a more nuanced view of the role of cognition in parenting risk. Its goal was to validate a social information processing (SIP) model of child neglect that draws on social cognition research and advances in neuroscience. Mothers who had CPS child neglect cases were compared with mothers with no CPS involvement on a set of SIP factors. Mothers with low IQs were oversampled. As predicted, the Neglect group had significantly greater SIP problems than the Comparison mothers. SIP problems were associated with direct measures of neglect (e.g., cognitive stimulation provided children, home hygiene, belief regarding causes of child injuries). Further, for the direct measures that were most closely linked to CPS Neglect Status, IQ did not add significant predictive capacity beyond SIP factors in preliminary model testing. Implications for intervention with PID discussed.

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