Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Infant cries as predictors of child abuse potential: Associations of working models of attachment, cognitive appraisals and emotional reactions
by Ladd, Aimee J., Ph.D., Illinois State University, 2010, 138; 3424378
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between attachment functioning and adults' cognitive appraisals and emotional reactions to infant crying. It has been hypothesized that infant crying may be a possible trigger for an abusive act by a caretaker (Fodi, 1985; Murray, 1979). It was proposed in the present study that one's cognitive working model of attachment may be responsible for the cognitive processing that leads to the type of emotional reaction and attribution process an individual describes in response to such an infant cry. In addition, it was predicted that more negative attribution processes and emotional reactions to infant cries would likely be associated with higher rates of child abuse potential.

One hundred and one female participants from a Midwestern University were recruited to address these goals. All participants were administered the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) developed by George, Kaplan, & Main (1996). Following the interview, participants were invited to listen to a set of audio-taped infant cry bouts after which they made causal attributions in a rating scale format, and then rated their own emotional reactions to the cry bouts. Finally, participants were asked to complete the Child Abuse Potential Inventory (CAP; Milner, 1986, 1994), identified as a Child Rearing Scale. Demographic information and information regarding interactive experience with children were also collected.

Mixed support was found for the study hypotheses. It was found that the context clues given regarding the cry, were particularly important in predicting both negative cognitive appraisals and negative emotional reactions. Unresolved status also played an important role in many instances. The results of the current study may provide insights to researchers and clinicians attempting to disrupt the intergenerational perpetuation of child abuse.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Creasey, Gary L.
School: Illinois State University
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 71/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Attachment, Attributions, Child abuse, Cognitive appraisals, Emotional reactions, Infant cries
Publication Number: 3424378
ISBN: 978-1-124-23400-7
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