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January 2022

Ecosystem adversity as setting factors in mothers' judgment of child behavior and indiscriminate mothering

Author(s): Pons, G.

Journal/Book: Eur J Psychol Assess. 1996; 12: PO Box 2487, Kirkland, WA 98083-2487. Hogrefe & Huber Publishers. 103-111.

Abstract: Several studies have shown that troubled mothers are not accurate observers of their children's behavior. These mothers have a global and usually blame-oriented reporting style coloured by disphoric views of social isolation, social coercion and socioeconomic disadvantage. The dsyphoric view describes a number of contextual or setting factors that seem to influence a mother's observational reports about her child more than the child's actual behavior does. OF course, when this observational bias exists, the mother's parenting performance is bound to be comprised. According to the considerations above, this study was designed with a group of 21 mother-child dyads characterized by their coercive interactions and child abuse (physical and emotional). The children were school-aged children ranging from 4 to 14 years of age and all mother-child dyads were observed at home. Two sets of analyses were conducted, one related to the maternal perception and one related to maternal behavior. The maternal judgment of the child's externalizing behavior problems throughout the CBCL.E and of the child's deviant behavior through the dayly scale rating constitued the criterion variables for the maternal perception analyses. The indiscriminate maternal reaction to child prosocial behavior was the criterion for the second set of analyses. Ecosystem variables and observational measures were token as the predictors. The findings suggest that the role played by the child's deviant behavior as predictor is very important in the mother's specific report, the mother's rating of her child's behavior during the previous hour. However, the best predictors of the mother's global judgment were both her actual aversive behavior and the setting factor as well as the perceived quality of social contacts. Likewise, with regard to the maternal behavior predictions, the results indicate that ecosystem factors and maternal judgment predicted the mother's indiscriminate behavior Following her child's prosocial behavior. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Note: Article MA Cerezo, Univ Valencia, Dept Psicol Basica, Avda Blasco Ibanez 21, E-46010 Valencia, Spain

Keyword(s): child physical abuse; indiscriminate mothering; maternal perception; BECK DEPRESSION INVENTORY; PREDICTABILITY HYPOTHESES; COERCION; FAMILIES

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